Heavy snows have temporarily cut off communications at Crater Lake National Park.
Telephone and internet service have been out at the park since early Monday morning with no estimate on when service might be restored. The road from park headquarters to Rim Village has been closed since Friday. The Rim Café and Gift Shop at Rim Village have also been closed.
Sean Denniston, the park’s management assistant, had no estimate on when the road to the rim will be reopened because crews are concentrating on keeping the road from the South Entrance on Highway 62 from Fort Klamath and Klamath Falls open to park headquarters in Munson Valley. Some park staff live in park housing near Munson Valley.
“Hopefully it’s not too extended,” Denniston said of the telephone and internet outages, which has led to some employees working at home. Staff and their families living in the park are impacted because most do not have satellite internet.
On Tuesday morning only one lane from Fort Klamath to the South Entrance and Munson Valley was open but crews were working widen the road Tuesday afternoon. Kirsten Harden, the park’s chief of management facilities, said crews are operating two snowplows, two snowblowers and a grader. “Knock on wood, everything is running,” Harden said Tuesday afternoon.
Highway 62 from Prospect and the Rogue Valley to Crater Lake’s south entrance was closed earlier this week because of fallen trees and heavy snow and was still closed Tuesday afternoon with no estimates on when the road might be reopened.
Harden reported it had snowed 56 inches at the park headquarters weather station since Wednesday, Jan. 8.
“The message is be prepared for winter conditions,” Denniston said of people planning to visit the park. He emphasized the need for caution, noting, “Because many people tend not to be adequately preparing, our concern is for visitors who don’t have experience driving in the snow.”
Because of the telephone and internet outages, the usual information sources, calling the park’s visitor center and checking the park’s website about road conditions are not available. People who do visit are always advised during winter months to have have vehicles with chains and/or traction tires and to carry shovels, adequate clothing along with food and water.