After tons of flood debris is removed, Artist’s Drive reopens in Death Valley National Park
Artist’s Drive, a popular visitor attraction in Death Valley National Park, has reopened about a month after a flash flood caused heavy damage.
The nine-mile drive, which is off Badwater Road south of Furnace Creek, reopened Saturday after crews removed an estimated 8,000 tons of debris left behind by the Oct. 18 flood that struck the park. The one-way loop winds through colorful, rolling hills.
Scotty’s Castle, one of the park’s biggest draws, remains indefinitely closed. The northern reaches of the park, home to the castle, and the surrounding area received between 2.7 and 3.5 inches of rain during the storm.
Between 1 and 4 feet of mud and debris flowed into the historic castle and the visitor center in the adjacent garage. Crews from several national parks completed the cleanup of mud and silt in recent days, then turned their attention to the removal of furniture, officials said.
Though the castle itself appears to be structurally sound, officials said one of the walls of the visitor center is bulging due to the force of the floodwaters.
It’s too early to say when Scotty’s Castle will reopen to visitors, said Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service. An earlier estimate suggested the attraction would probably be closed for at least a year.
“I don’t think we’ve got a good handle on that yet,” Litterst said Monday. He also said it would be premature to confirm earlier damage assessments in the tens of millions of dollars.
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