Death Valley Still Closed

A massive thunderstorm has shut down the largest national park in the lower 48 has been shut down by the California Highway Patrol.

Eastern portions of Death Valley, essentially the region around Furnace Creek, suffered extensive damage last Tuesday due to downpours and flash flooding. Rainfall rates of over two inches per hour were measured in some areas (the average annual rainfall in Death Valley is just over two inches). Large sections of Highway 190 and the roads leading to Beatty, Nevada were washed out and two people died when caught in a flash flood.The California Highway Patrol evacuated all non-essential personnal and blocked off all entrances to the park. The water system at Furnace Creek was heavily damaged and the remaining personnel have been forced to boil water for drinking.However, the western portions of Death Valley including Stovepipe Wells and Panimint Springs Resort appear to be accessible from the west, either via Highway 178 (through Trona) or from the Owens Valley on Highway 190. Panimint Springs was most critical of the Highway Patrol in their overzealous closure of all roads shutting off their revenue sources thus placing them at economic risk.The Park Service claimed that safety of travellers is paramount but in this case it appears it was easier to simply shut the entire park instead of modifying routes into and out of the region.Any further information on this would be most appreciated -- particularly from riders who may have ventured past police checkpoints or entered the park via backroads to see the damage for themselves.
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George Obradovich
George Obradovich

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