Rim Drive at Crater Lake National Park is now open to Discovery Point.
Acting Superintendent Vicki Snitzler said snowplow crews formally opened Rim Drive from Rim Village to Discover Point Thursday morning. Crews are continuing to work west along Rim Drive toward the north entrance.
Because of unusually low snowfall — the current snow depth is 62 inches, well below the 106 inches normally on the ground this time of year — work by snowplow crews has been assisted by natural melting. The park has received 397 inches of snow this winter season, well below the 490 inches normally received. The park’s average winter season snowfall is 594 inches.
If current dry weather continues, and forecasts over the next several days call for highs in the 50s and 40s, Snitzler said it appears likely North Entrance Road will be open before Memorial Day.
Under current plans, after opening the north entrance, crews will move ahead to Cleetwood Cove trailhead on Rim Drive, which has the only trail that accesses the lake. Concession operated boat tours are offered from Cleetwood Cove.
Because of budget cuts resulting from the federal sequestration, Snitzler said other portions of the 33-mile long Rim Drive, which circles the lake, may be allowed to naturally melt instead of using more costly snowplow crews.
— Lee Juillerat