Draft Winter Use Plan, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 1994
The National Park Service (NPS) has prepared a winter use plan that will be used as a tool to guide the growth of winter recreation use in Crater Lake National Park. Winter visitation could increase by 1 to 3% annually in response to regional and statewide participation in winter recreation activities. The winter use plan addresses four active winter recreation activities: snow machine use (snowmobiles and snow coaches), cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and overnight camping. The intent of the plan is to preserve the quiet and solitude of the park’s backcountry areas by encouraging low-impact modes of travel and overnight camping while providing all user groups access to the park and Crater Lake during the winter season. The winter use plan was developed from a series of four winter use alternatives and is consistent with existing NPS policy and public opinion expressed during the public involvement process.
Four alternative winter use plan scenarios were evaluated during the planning process. With one exception, the winter use plan is based on Alternative 1, which supports maintaining existing winter use in the park. Under Alternative 1, snow machine access to Crater Lake National Park would continue along the north entrance road. The existing ungroomed cross-country ski trail network would be maintained. Guided interpretive snowshoe walks would continue from the Rim Village activity center. Overnight frontcountry camping would continue at Rim Village. Backcountry camping would continue under the existing permit system.
Under Alternative 2, the use of mechanized snow machines within the park would be prohibited. The existing ungroomed cross-country ski network would continue to be maintained. Snowshoe walks would continue to be offered from Rim Village. Frontcountry camping would continue in a designated area at Rim Village. Backcountry use would be restricted to day use. No overnight backcountry use would be permitted.
Under Alternative 3, the use of snow machines within the park would be limited to the north entrance road. The existing ungroomed ski trail network would continue to be maintained. However, this alternative includes an option to develop a groomed trail network in Mazama Village. Snowshoe walks would continue to be offered at Rim Village; however, if year-round facilities were to be developed in Mazama Village, the NPS would likely provide guided interpretive snowshoe walks in this area as well. Frontcountry camping would be prohibited in Rim Village; however, facilities would be provided in Mazama Village if year-round facilities were developed. Backcountry camping would continue under the existing permit system.