Passes open for holiday

May 22, 2002 11:00 pm

By LENORE RUTHERFORD

The three-day Memorial Day weekend is expected to be dry and mild except for a chance of showers Saturday night and Sunday.

Sonora, Ebbetts and Tioga passes are all scheduled to be open by Friday.

All three passes are traditionally closed for the duration of the snow season. Caltrans crews try to open them no later than the Memorial Day weekend, which is traditionally among the busiest weekends of the year for campgrounds and other outdoor attractions

Storms earlier this week closed Sonora Pass over Highway 108 and Ebbetts Pass over Highway 4, which had been opened for the season earlier this month.

Sonora Pass was re-opened Wednesday morning and Ebbetts Pass was set to again open at noon today.

Tioga Pass on Highway 120 in Yosemite National Park was scheduled to open for the season for the first time Wednesday, but after storms earlier this week, Yosemite officials postponed the opening until noon Friday.

High country Forest Service campgrounds along Highway 108 are open, but back country campgrounds are mainly closed, said Jerry Benedict of the Forest Service Summit Ranger District in Pinecrest.

He said some people have gone into the Relief Reservoir area in the back country near Kennedy Meadow this week, but they had to ski part of the way in and out.

Most high country Forest Service campgrounds along Highway 4 are still closed.

The Waka Luu Hep Yoo Campground near Dorrington is already open, and campgrounds around the west end of Lake Alpine may be open in time for the holiday weekend. Call the Calaveras Ranger District at 754-1381 for last-minute updates.

The National Weather Service forecast is unsettled.

Laura Bevan, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, said partly cloudy skies are expected this weekend with a 30 percent chance of showers in the Mother Lode Saturday night and a slight chance of showers to continue through Sunday.