April 5, 2012

After the record setting warmth of March, the Park weather has now turned back to temperatures more typical for this time of year.

 Although the indications are that we will still have an early spring, cold nights and days in the 40's have slowed the melting of the remaining snow.  The single most important factor in determining when Park roads can be opened to vehicle traffic for the summer season is frost.  If the road bed holds significant frost and that frost is slow to come up and leave the roadbed, then access can be delayed, sometimes until mid or late May - long after the snow has left the high country.  Indications so far are that we may have very little frost in the roads, but time, and warmer temperatures, will tell.
All Park road and all trails above treeline are now closed.  Rangers will now begin checking the road at regular intervals and we will open them to traffic as soon as conditions allow.  As road access extends to trailheads, we will begin checking trails, including trails on the Tableland. Usually, the Park roads open from Togue Pond on the south and Matagamon Lake on the north and gradually extend into the Park, with the section of road between Nesowadnehunk Campground and Trout Brook Crossing usually being the last to open.  We will open trails above treeline on the west side of Katahdin first - as soon as the Tableland is dry enough to accept hiking traffic without resource damage.  Eastside Katahdin trails usually open later, between June 1 and June 20.
Park Entrance Road - April 3, 2012

Rangers now are stowing their winter equipment and assembling their summer gear.  With the recent dry weather, wildfire is a growing concern.  Wetter weather is now forecast for most of next week.  This should alleviate the fire concerns and will also likely melt the remaining snow in the low country and we could see ice out on lower elevation Park ponds.