Draft Winter Use Plan, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 1994
Chapter 4. Winter Use Plan
THE PREFERRED WINTER USE PLAN
The winter use plan was developed consistent with management objectives and public opinion regarding winter use in Crater Lake National Park. The preferred alternative, which was selected from the four draft alternatives, addresses levels of use and areas within the park most suitable for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and overnight camping. All existing active winter uses were found appropriate for Crater Lake National Park and will continue based on provisions in this plan.
The plan provides justification for decisions regarding each activity based on consistency with management objectives. Through implementation of the preferred winter use alternative, the NPS seeks to provide all winter visitors with access to the park’s primary resource while maintaining quiet and solitude in backcountry wilderness areas.
Snowmobile access will continue along the north entrance road from Highway 138 to North Junction. This is consistent with NPS policy regarding snow machine use in Crater Lake National Park (see Appendix B) and Management Objective 6, which seeks to provide access to a Crater Lake viewpoint for mechanized snow machines. No additional snowmobile or snow machine routes will be permitted. Diamond Lake Resort snowmobile and snowcoach tours will continue operating pursuant to provisions a commercial use license. Justification for NPS policy regarding snowmobile use in the park is as follows:
Avalanche hazards in the Dutton Cliffs area near Kerr Notch prevent safe passage of grooming equipment and snowmobiles along the Pinnacles road and East Rim Drive.
NPS policy requires that snowmobile use be confined to roadways used by vehicles during the summer season and closed to vehicles during the winter. Snow drifts and steep terrain near Dutton Cliffs and the Watchman preclude safe use of trail grooming machinery and snowmobiles on either West or East Rim Drive.
The quiet and solitude experienced in the Crater Lake backcountry is considered a resource unique to Crater Lake National Park. Additional snowmobile use in the backcountry areas of the park would compromise the wilderness experience for others visiting backcountry areas.
Visitors riding snowmobiles currently have access to a Crater Lake viewpoint at North Junction.
There are approximately 960 miles of existing snowmobile trails in the Winema, Umpqua, and Rogue River National Forests that provide recreational opportunities for snowmobile users. The addition of a 12-mile roundtrip route into the park via the Pinnacles road would increase the overall trail network by less than 1%.
Public comment favored either maintaining the existing level of use or eliminating the use of mechanized snow machines in the park. This alternative provides park access to all user groups while providing a balance consistent with NPS policy and public opinion.