By CAROLYN MOORE
The reopening of Timpanogos cave scheduled for this Saturday may have to be postponed for a second time.
The popular recreation site was originally scheduled to open May 9 for the summer tourist season. But a construction project to improve a safety feature has had to be postponed because of the unusually wet weather in April and May.
The project is to reconstruct a rock trap that prevents rocks from falling onto the trail. The trap spans a natural rock chute and is made of three steel doors and a high-tension woven steel curtain held up by a steel cable.
This system catches and holds the rocks, which range from fist size to some two feet in diameter. According to Kit Mullen, superintendent of Timpanogos Cave National Monument, the trap has been in place for twenty years and has taken quite a beating in that time.
The unusually cold weather and high amounts of rain have hindered the reconstruction project and prevented the construction crew from working. According to Mullen, the rain just collects in the chute and turns it into a stream.
The opening day was already set back an additional two weeks to accommodate the project. The last two weeks of wet weather have just added to the delay, said Mullen.
Park rangers and other seasonal workers have already begun working at the park even with the delayed opening.
Alison Nielsen, a Visitors Use Assistant, says the beginning of the season is usually just school groups anyway. She said that most people know the cave is open after Memorial Day and that’s when it starts to get busy. The few people that have come up to the cave expecting it to be open have mostly been from other cities or countries and are just passing through.
But Mullen said the construction is progressing well. She said she thinks the project will be far enough along that they can open on Saturday and then close down again for a few days during the week to do the finishing work.
“It’s not safe for anyone to be on the trail until that is completed.” she said. “It was only in the interest for visitors safety that we had to postpone our opening date.”