By Jessi Loerch
Mount Rainier National Park will change to winter hours on Tuesday.
The park staff are trying to stretch a limited budget as far as possible. As in past years, they will open the gate just past Longmire from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., unless weather and road conditions prevent it.
From Tuesday until Dec. 21, the road will open on those hours from Thursday until Monday. It will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. From Dec. 21 until the end of March, the parks staff hopes to have the road open daily — depending upon funding. The gate at Paradise will close at 4 p.m. to give visitors and staff time to get out safely.
In a press release, park officials reminded visitors that it is important to be out of the park on time. If visitors are late leaving, park staff have to work overtime and the cost will affect what services will be available in the summer.
The Longmire area will be open, unless a major storm closes the road. Visitors can visit the National Park Inn for lodging, food, and snowshoe and ski rentals.
The entire park is open during the winter. Visitors are welcome to camp, although a permit is required. Anyone planning to camp near Paradise should not plan on driving out on Tuesday or Wednesday until after Dec. 21.
The Paradise visitor center will be open weekends, with extended hours around the holidays.
For more information