Rail trail enthusiasts with cabin fever might want to remember that there's always a light at the end of the Howard Tunnel on the York County Heritage Rail Trail.
But that light has metaphorically moved farther away for those who want to hit the trail, with conditions going from bad to worse with last week's snowstorm.
Crews have temporarily abandoned efforts to clear the 21-mile trail, which was closed to the public on Feb. 7 because of trees and branches that fell on its already icy surface.
All those trees and limbs have since been covered in more than a foot of snow, freezing them in place and making removal dangerous for park workers, said county parks director Tammy Klunk.
Crossings are also blocked, piled with several feet of snow from passing plows, so the outdoor recreation space can't be easily accessed.
"We don't want unsafe conditions for men with chainsaws in their hands," Klunk said. "Right now, it's just not safe out there."
While workers were expected to start clearing the trail this week, Klunk said she's waiting for a substantial thaw before directing the work to continue.
Klunk said she's not sure when that will be, and the trail is likely to be closed for weeks.
This marks at least the second time the park had a lengthy closure. Klunk said the path was also closed after a pre-Halloween snow storm in 2011 left the trail in similar condition.
While the parks department can issue fines for violating the closure, Klunk said the area is not being patrolled and she's advising people to use sense and avoid the danger.
The county parks system will update the public on progress via its website and social media accounts, she said.
— Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.