Date: May 23, 2014 Contact: Mimi Gorman, 360-569-6566
Ashford, WA – Major construction along the Nisqually to Paradise Road—the southwest entrance to Mount Rainier National Park from Ashford—will cease over the Memorial Day weekend, Friday, May 23 to Monday May 26.
Road conditions over the weekend include approximately twelve areas where pavement has been removed along the seven mile drive from Nisqually Entrance to Longmire. These areas are presently dirt and gravel with entry and exit ramps engineered for an easier transition into and out of the dig outs. Some dig-outs appear to be narrow but are wide enough to accommodate buses and RVs. Visitors are advised to stay in their designated lane. Changing lanes to avoid a rough surface through these areas is nearly impossible, and attempting to do so creates a dangerous situation, especially around blind curves with the potential for unseen oncoming traffic.
When construction resumes on Tuesday, May 27, visitors should expect to be delayed approximately 30-minutes entering and also exiting the park via the Nisqually to Paradise Road. Construction is currently scheduled for weekdays only, Monday through Friday, beginning around 7:15 am and ending around 7:00 pm.
Throughout the summer and the duration of the road rehabilitation, driving conditions will continually change as the project progresses. Dips, loose gravel, bumps, holes and uneven surfaces will, in the end, give way to a smooth, and safe uninterrupted drive. This summer's inconveniences are short-term investments for what should be years of smooth driving on the Nisqually to Paradise Road in the future.
Bicyclists are encouraged to use an alternative route through the park. Road conditions between the Nisqually Entrance and Longmire are not suitable for the narrow tires of road bicycles. Also, because of changing traffic patterns and the need to follow behind a pilot car during the week, bicycling is not advised.
With the opening of SR410 and SR123 on May 23, visitors can now use the Stevens Canyon Entrance in the park's Southeastern quadrant. In addition, the park's northwest entrance along the Carbon River is open throughout the year and offers an alternate route to visiting the park.
In June 1945, President Harry Truman visited Mount Rainier National Park, dined at the Paradise Inn and played a song on the Inn's piano. This piano and other notable items are preserved today in the Paradise Inn, part of an effort to maintain the park's rich historic legacy. More...