Park begins to awaken from snowy winter

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Even though it’s April, the snow level in Olympic National Park stubbornly remains at about 3,000 feet, with some snow having recently fallen at lower elevations.

But, park crews still are making progress clearing winter storm damage and opening some popular areas of the 937,000-acre park.

First, the good news.

Hurricane Ridge Road — which has been open Friday through Sunday, weather permitting, through the winter — is scheduled to be open all week, beginning May 5 — again, only if the weather permits.

The road remains reduced to one lane in three areas because of severe damage from a December storm, but those sections are short, with good visibility for oncoming drivers, Olympic National Park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said on Thursday.

Two of the five loops at Heart O’ The Hills campground also are open for the season, Maynes said.

“That’s fairly typical this time of year,” she said.

“People can go in and find a campsite, but there’s no risk of them filling up yet.”

If you go, go prepared.

Hurricane Ridge now has 133 inches at the snow stake, which is 132 percent of average for this time of year, Maynes said.

The area also received another inch of new snow Thursday, and the freezing level remains at 5,000 feet.

“Winter conditions can prevail, even in spring, and the road may close at any time because of heavy snow, avalanche danger or high winds,” Maynes said.

The park’s road and weather hotline at 360-565-3131 gives current Hurricane Ridge Road conditions.

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