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Utah Travel Headlines

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Some High Elevation Attractions Will Be Closed Memorial Day Weekend

Utah's highways, campgrounds and recreation areas are expected to be busy this weekend, as people go outdoors to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday and the unofficial beginning of summer. However, some high elevation facilities will not be open because there is still heavy snowpack in those areas.

Cedar Breaks National Monument, the Alpine Loop and the Mirror Lake Highway are still closed, along with other attractions at similar elevations.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article previewing conditions for the weekend. Below are excerpts.

At Cedar Breaks, snow has covered buildings and delayed the opening of the scenic highway leading to the visitor center.

"On [May 21] there was a wall of ice and snow 10 feet high at the visitors center," said Cedar Breaks spokeswoman Teri Saa on Tuesday. "We had to chip away and make a tunnel to get to it."

...U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Kathy Jo Pollock said most lower-elevation campgrounds are open. But higher-elevation campgrounds, roads and trails might be muddy and visitors are encouraged to drive on dry surfaces only.

She said most backcountry hiking and camping is still limited because of snowpack around the state. Campers probably will start noticing snow still on the ground at about 8,500 feet elevation.

Pollock said the popular Alpine Loop in Utah County will remain closed through the weekend and the Mirror Lake Highway in Uintah County is also closed at higher elevations with only four lower elevation campgrounds open.

State Road 39 between Ogden and Woodruff also remains closed.

Saa said the park (Cedar Breaks) might open by June 5 if plow crews can clear both lanes of the highway. She said the snowpack also could delay park activities including a wildflower festival that normally begins with the Fourth of July. And the campground opening could be delayed.

Campers should check with the park before they visit.

"It should be a spectacular season for wildflowers, which usually begin to bloom in early July and may run a bit later this year due to the late snowfall," she said.

Kenton Call, spokesman for the Dixie National Forest in southern Utah, said snow will delay the openings of the popular Duck Creek Campground east of Cedar City off SR 14 and the campground at Panguitch Lake off SR 143.

The campground at Navajo Lake off SR 14 is also closed.

Call said closed roads will be posted, and he asked for the public's cooperation in respecting the closures.

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