Winter – 20 Appendix B – NPS Position Statement on Proposed Change in Snowmobile Use in Crater Lake National Park

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

 Appendix B – NPS Position Statement on Proposed Change in Snowmobile Use in Crater Lake National Park



The existing policy of only allowing snowmobiles in the park on the North Entrance Road between Highway 138 and the North Junction is the result of an extensive public involvement and decision making process. On February 23, 1976, proposed snowmobile regulations for Crater Lake National Park were published in the Federal Register. Six hundred and seven responses were received, of which there were more responses indicating a preference for no snowmobiling in the park than those favoring snowmobiling or an increase in areas available for snowmobiling. In August of 1976, the regulation took effect.

Snowmobile use was addressed in the General Management Plan of 1977 and comment supported snowmobile use as per the 1976 regulation.

A Winter Use Study was conducted in 1980. The team considered five alternatives for snowmobile use, including a through route for snowmobiles (southeast to north), and opening up a southeast (Pinnacles Route) route. Organized snowmobile clubs openly supported the through route as a portion of a north-south route from California to Washington. The study team estimated the annual cost of operating this route to be $22,000 (1980 prices). This included the cost of two additional snowmobiles and two seasonal rangers; grooming costs, if any, would be additional. Public Meetings concerning the alternatives proposed in the study were held in five cities and written comments were received. Seventy-four percent of the public indicated preference for maintaining snowmobiling on the North Entrance Road only.


Crater Lake National Park is surrounded by three national forests and one area of state. land. All of these lands are open to snowmobiling with hundreds of miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Additionally, thousands of miles of logging roads are open to snowmobiles and have excellent snow for the entire winter. There are no areas, except within the park, that are for skiers only, restricting snowmobiles and providing opportunities for both recreational users. The north entrance to north junction road in the park is not plowed and is currently open to snbwmobiles and serves the large clientele from the Diamond Lake winter recreation area. This allows individuals from the north to see the lake without driving around to the south or west entrances. The south and west entrances are plowed up to the lake so anyone entering from those entrances may see the lake by vehicle.


For the purposes of this document, only one alternative will be addressed. That is; the possibility of opening the paved road from Kerr Notch to the old east entrance (Pinnacles) for winter snowmobile use.


Opening of this route would provide snowmobilers with an additional point at which they could see the lake. For visitors coming from the Klamath Falls area, this saves them a drive of approximately 30 miles. Opening the Pinnacles route would probably attract snowmobilers using the existing routes on the east side of the park who might otherwise not see the lake.