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Park Service Still Cleaning Up Skyline Drive - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Park Service Still Cleaning Up Skyline Drive

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The National Park Service is still plowing snow along Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. Two major snow storms in December and February have kept work crews busy as they race to clear roadways and campgrounds before some of them open in the next few weeks.

"This season has probably been one of the worst," said Randall Miller, equipment supervisor for roads and grounds for Shenandoah National Park. "We started pushing snow in October."

Spring is just days away and the last real snow accumulation was more than a month ago.

"Bootens Gap, we had a drift there. It was probably eight to 10 foot tall for a 150 feet, maybe 200 feet," said Miller.

Miller has worked for the National Park Service for more than 20 years. He says he has never seen a winter like this before.

"We usually have drifts, but this year we've had more drifts and bigger drifts than, you know, pretty much the whole length of the drive," he said.

About 1.2 million people visit the Shenandoah National Park every year. On March 26, Big Meadows Campground opens for the season, but there was a concern it would not be ready in time.

"It's my understanding that last week you could come up and see the tops of picnic tables but you couldn't see the benches because of the depth of the snow," said U.S. National Park Service Management Assistant Karen Beck-Herzog.

The Shenandoah National Park was awarded about $800,000 in federal stimulus funding for Loft Mountain Campground but the snow accumulation threatened to slow that project down.

"It will all be done before the campground opens and with this rain, I think it's going to help us to be able to get in there, get those roads opened up and let the contractor come," said Beck-Herzog.

With the snow finally melting, the Shenandoah National Park faces a new challenge: flooding. They are busy clearing blocked drains to prevent roads from being submerged in water.

Reported by Jennifer Von Reuter
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