Winter – 03 Chapter 1. Introduction

Draft Winter Use Plan, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 1994

 Chapter 1. Introduction

Crater Lake National Park is located approximately 70 miles northeast of Medford, Oregon, along the crest of the Cascade mountain range (see Figure 1-1). Formed after the volcanic eruption of Mount Mazama approximately 7,700 years ago, Crater Lake, with a depth of 1,932 feet, is the deepest lake in the United States and the seventh deepest lake in the world. Crater Lake National Park encompasses approximately 188,000 acres and was established in 1902 as the United States’ sixth national park. Figure 1-2 provides a detailed park map.

Historically, winter activities have been managed through established National Park Service (NPS) policy and guidelines rather than long-term recreational management specific to Crater Lake National Park. It has become apparent that winter activities are an integral part of the visitor experience in Crater Lake National Park and that more specific management and policy direction is needed to guide the growth of active winter recreation within the park.

The number of winter visits to Crater Lake National Park has increased over the past 5 years by an annual average of 3.5%. People visiting Crater Lake during the winter do so for various reasons. Foremost among winter visitor activities is passive viewing of the lake. This includes photography, relaxation, and contemplation of the winter scenery. This will likely remain the primary winter recreation activity in the park. However, for a growing number of visitors, Crater Lake National Park provides a unique and pristine location to enjoy a variety of active winter recreation pursuits. Typically, whether on cross-country skis, snowshoes, or a snowmobile, the winter visitor participating in active recreation is using a means of travel other than the automobile to enjoy Crater Lake National Park.


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