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Updated: Severe Weather Pounds Canyonlands National Park, Strands Rigs Below White Rim


Portions of the Shafer Trail Road leading down below the White Rim of Canyonlands National Park have been heavily damaged by storms. Kurt Repanshek photo.

A powerful storm that raked Canyonlands National Park did substantial damage to routes along the famed White Rim Trail and has stranded some vehicles at the bottom of the Mineral Bottom switchbacks, park officials said Friday.

Paul Henderson, the park's assistant superintendent, said rangers assessed the damage to the Mineral Bottom and Shafer Trail roads from the air Friday afternoon.

"We might have the White Rim and Shafer open tomorrow - seems the storm sort of acted like a tornado - slam something here and leave something there unscathed," he said. "Nobody is stranded on the White Rim. Biggest issue now are the vehicles at Mineral Bottom - until the White Rim is open they will have to stay put - and then they will make it out only if they are four-wheel-drive with fairly high clearance.

The storm hit Thursday and did substantial damage to sections of the two routes.

"Major damage to the Mineral switchbacks - initial reports are that the road could be closed for several weeks," Mr. Henderson said.

The Shaefer Trail Road and Mineral Bottom Road are at opposite ends of the 100-mile-long White Rim Trail, a meandering dirt route popular with mountain bikers.

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