ONP's standard line is that the road has to close at Heart O' The Hills "for public safety."
The reality is that there are fewer public safety incidents at the Ridge in winter than other areas of the Park, and certainly other Parks (i.e. Mount Rainier).
Furthermore, the Ranger staff is NOT capable of responding to an incident that would happen beyond the road corridor in a timely manner.  Any response, whether during the week or weekend, will require a multi-agency response.
Lake Crescent is staffed by three full time Rangers in the winter.  Lake Crescent requires 24/7 coverage.  Highway 101 runs through the Park at Lake Crescent with over 200,000 visits during the winter months.  Traffic accidents are relatively frequent, including fatalities.  Temporary road closures due to falling rock, trees, and other events are common.  Compared to Hurricane Ridge's one way dead end road, Lake Crescent provides numerous escape routes for the bad guys.

In addition, the NPS provides the primary Law Enforcement and fire protection capability to protect private property along the lake. 

Other examples, such as back country law enforcement throughout the Park and isolated outposts such as Staircase and the Quinalt areas also suggest that five rangers for at most 1,000 visitors per day is over staffed.

Arbitrarily closing 4 days a week regardless of weather does not meet the standard of closing for visitor safety.  Last year there were over 60 days that the road was closed during the 7 month winter period despite clear roads and no drifting or avalanche threat.

·         Park visitors must assume a substantial degree of risk and responsibility for their own safety when visiting areas that are managed and maintained as natural, cultural, or recreational environments. DO 8.2.5

·         NPS superintendents will use their discretion to determine the level of program resources and the types of programs needed to manage visitor risk within their park unit.  This will depend on the resources, values, park-specific mission, the feasibility of various program levels, activities offered at the park, the nature of the park visits, the degree of risks to visitors at the park, and the history of visitor injury in the park.   DO 50C 4.1

·         The Service will work cooperatively with other federal, tribal, state, and local agencies; organizations, and individuals to carry out the responsibility to provide a safe and healthful environment. DO 8.2.5

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