Mount Rainier National Park Closed Indefinitely After Mudslides and Flooding Block Entrances
"All roads leading into the park are currently closed," the National Park Service said in a press release over the weekend
Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park is shut down indefinitely due to mudslides and flooding near the entrances of the park.
In a press release over the weekend, the National Park Service said that “all roads leading into the park are currently closed” due to localized flooding and mudslides caused by “heavy rains and saturated soil” in the area. The roads will not reopen until they are completely cleared, officials told CNN.
There is also no access to the popular Paradise and Longmire Historic Landmark District areas of the park.
Some residents and guests in and around the park have been evacuated through an emergency access route, and NPS staff are also working on protecting important structures inside the park from damage.
In a statement, Deputy Superintendent Tracy Swartout said that “park staff are working around-the-clock, and in close partnership with the Rainier Guest Services team and state and local officials to protect life, health, and safety of residents, visitors, and employees first — and protecting critical infrastructure related to our nationally-significant buildings and roads, second.”
According to the press release, the flooding has already caused damage to “roads, trails and historic structures” inside the park — though the full extent of the damage may not be realized until the snow melts in the spring. The release added that continued rains have slowed down progress in assessing the damage and clearing the entrances.
Mount Rainier National Park did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment about when the park is expected to reopen, but is keeping residents and guests updated on their Twitter feed.