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Guadalupe Mountains National Park Slowly Reopening After Flood Closures


Some areas of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, closed Thursday by flooding, were reopened Friday while park staff headed out to assess what damage was done.

Still, park Superintendent Dennis A. Vásquez said most of the park areas closed by the storm will remain closed for the time being.

The Pine Springs Visitor Center remains open to provide information and assist visitors and motorists, and the Pine Springs Campground and the Pinery have reopened. Frijole Ranch Road was open as far as the corral, and visitors may hike from there to Smith Spring, from the west side only, and to Manzanita Spring.

The Smith Spring Trail remained closed between Smith Spring and Manzanita Spring. The Guadalupe Peak Trail, the Horse Trail from Guadalupe Peak, the Pinery Trail and the first mile, only, of the Devil’s Hall Trail have reopened, as well.

The Guadalupe Peak Backcountry Campground is also open. However, most trails still have loose rocks and uneven ground, and many require shallow water crossings. Hikers and backpackers were being urged to exercise extreme caution.

Park staff hoped to be able to open the Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum on Saturday.

McKittrick Canyon, Williams Ranch, the Salt Basin Dunes, Dog Canyon and all other backcountry areas, unpaved roads, and trails will remain closed, at least through the weekend, as water levels continue to recede and the park begins to dry out.

“This was a very unusual event. Even people who have been here a long time cannot remember a rain event like this. The ground is still saturated in many areas, and creeks, arroyos, springs and seeps are still running, even though the water has receded," the superintendent said in a release. "Williams Ranch Road and several trails have washed out areas, which will take time to repair. We are continuing to monitor and assess conditions, and will continue to open the closed areas of the park as soon as it is safe to do so. As always, our primary concern is for the safety of park visitors and staff, and for the protection of park resources."


Wow, Guadalupe Mountain; Rocky Mountain; Rainbow Bridge; Glen Canyon; Canyonlands; Capitol Reef; Timpanogos Cave; Zion -- and certainly more -- have been hammered by this exceptional storm. Maybe the hurricane season has moved inland.

My son is stranded in Farmington, New Mexico with the road construction crew he works with. He says things are very interesting down there. And according to the forecasts, it may continue for a while.

Recovering from all this will be a real challenge for the NPS.

Add to that Death Valley where nearly all backcountry roads are still closed or impassable, from floods months ago. A lot of work needs to be done there.

This reminds me of the winter of 06-07 up here in Washington state, that closed Mt. Rainier NP for six months.

Only on steroids. And that's saying something.

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