While weather conditions in Olympic National Park likely are not as challenging as those in Glacier at this time of year, that doesn't mean putting Olympic back together in the wake of last November's storm is any easier.
Park officials report they are making progress in reopening roads and campgrounds that were closed by the storm. Much of the work has been accomplished with help from the Washington Conservation Corps and local county and public utility district crews, as well as Park Service employees temporarily reassigned from other parks.
Still, as the spring season approaches things continue to be a little dicey in parts of Olympic.
"We urge people to use caution and to call our recorded hotline for current road conditions, 360-565-3131," says Superintendent Bill Laitner.
As spring sets in and backcountry snows melt, park officials expect to find more storm damage.
In the front country, Olympic officials are working to rebuild the Hoh Road, which had a 75-foot-long section washed out by the storm. So far a temporary one-lane bridge has been erected across West Twin Creek. Park officials currently are soliciting public input to determine exactly how the road should be rebuilt. The current plan is to install a permanent two-lane bridge.
Despite this ongoing project, park officials plan to open both the Hoh Road and the campground by May 1.
"Travel may be slightly slower than usual, with several sections of the road surfaced with gravel and short traffic delays at the one-lane bridge," says Laitner, "but we're confident the public will still enjoy the opportunity to visit the Hoh."
Yet to be determined, though, is how quickly crews can reopen the Hoh River Trail, where 200 downed trees crisscross the first five miles of the trail.
For a breakdown on the condition of specific areas of the park, check out this site.