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UPDATE: Chinook Pass Open Date Set for June 23

The Washington state Department of Transportation, in its update Thursday, indicates progress is being made clearing to the pass. Meanwhile, Sunrise Visitor Center is preparing for its opening beginning June 24.

The Washington state Department of Transportation said in a 6:31 p.m. update Thursday that Chinook Pass would open next Thursday, June 23 at 10 a.m. 

Crews are doing final clean up, widening the snow banks and installing signs. The opening date this season was difficult to predict due to large quantities of late season snow, unseasonably cold temperatures, and high avalanche danger, said the update.

Cayuse Pass reopened on May 24, clearing the way for drivers to access US 12 from State Route 410 via State Route 123.

Meanwhile, according to a release from Visit Rainier, which promotes tourism in the gateway communities around Mount Rainier, Sunrise Visitor Center, accessible via State Route 410 about five miles inside the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park -- the center is 14 miles northwest of the Sunrise/White River turnoff from State Route 410 -- is set to open Friday, July 1.

The center will feature two new exhibits that tell the story of the Sunrise area of the park, including the volcanic forces that created the mountain, the glaciers that mold the landscape, the plant and animal life of the subalpine meadows, and the tribes that are tied to the area, according to the release. The story is told through photos, words, artifacts, models, and video. 

The Sunrise Lodge and gift shop and snack bar will open as early as Friday, June 24.

A Junior Ranger program at Sunrise also begins on July 1 and continues each Friday, Saturday and Sunday through September 4. Children of all ages are invited to join park staff for fun activities that explain the mountain's glaciers, habitats, and more.

Programs begin at 10 a.m. at the White River Campground Campfire Circle, and generally last one hour. Visitors can also meet at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily for a 45-minute stroll along trails to learn about the natural and cultural history of the Sunrise area. Participants meet at the Sunrise Visitor Center flagpole.

"This is a great time to visit the 'Sunrise' side of Mount Rainier," said Mary Kay Nelson, executive director of Visit Rainier. "These displays, the new at Crystal Mountain, and wildflower meadows are just a few of the ways folks of any activity level can enjoy the mountain."

For complete information on vacationing around Mt. Rainier, visit www.visitrainier.com

Steven Cadematori June 17, 2011 at 05:18 PM
Check out www.chinookscenicbyway.com for the most complete list of what to do riding over the pass. Be amazed by all the 360 degree photos, maps, activities and photo galleries! So, Thursday Chinook opens with all the nice weather for the start of summer, followed by beautiful Sunrise on Friday and the Crystal Mountain Summer Kickoff Party on Saturday. Check out www.CrystalMountainResort.com for more info and www.altacrystalresort.com to learn how to turn all of this into a magical weekend!

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