Massive boulders, landslide will keep Stevens Canyon Road closed until Memorial Day

While the lack of snow has meant no sledding this winter at Mount Rainier National Park, the winter weather was bad enough to cause a slide that has damaged Stevens Canyon Road.

On Feb. 5, hundreds of tons of rock, trees and dirt broke away from a cliff face, covering the road between Backbone Ridge and the Steven's Canyon entrance, above the Ohanapecosh area.

“The hillside above the roadway gave way and trees, debris, and some extremely large rocks are covering about 150 feet of the road surface,” said park Superintendent Randy King last week.

According to park geologist Scott Beason, some of the boulders were 25 feet in diameter. Some are so large it might require blasting to break them up so the debris can be removed from the roadway.

“Some of the rocks are monstrously huge,” Beason said.

The slide was likely caused by a cycle of freezing and thawing following a large rain storm.

“This year we’ve had a pretty intense freeze-thaw year,” Beason said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we have more rock fall events.”

King said park managers are working the National Park Service’s regional office to award a contract to clear the debris.

Given the time needed to award the contract and complete the work, King said the road isn’t likely to open until Memorial Day, the normal spring opening.


Metro Parks Tacoma and Olympia Parks, Art and Recreation will be offering youth camps during spreak break in their respective cities.

In Tacoma, the agency is offering camps for various age groups at STAR Center, Center at Norpoint and Titlow Lodge. The camps will run the week of March 30-April 3.

Topics include comic book creation, using Legos to build Minecraft characters and custom models, soccer, basketball and day camps that offer different activities.

Most of the camps are designed for children ages 6-12.

Go to metroparkstacoma.org/camps for details and costs.

In Olympia, the camps will be offered April 6-10 at The Olympia Center and Lincoln Elementary School.

The topics include an introduction to break dancing, a safari day camp, space adventures and a day camp with different activities.

The camps are for children ages 6-16, but vary by camp.

For details, go to apm.activecommunities.com/