Preliminary Draft Environmental Assessment for
Crater Lake Master Plan
I. Statement of the Problem
Among the issues to be addressed in the assessment are the following:
A. Rim Village
The primary attraction of Crater Lake National Park is Crater Lake itself. The outstanding geologic formations and scenic vistas associated with this unique caldera lake can best be enjoyed and/or interpreted by large numbers of people from the caldera rim, as the rigors of the Cleetwood Trail and capacity and expense of the boats limits that experience. As a result, the Rim Village has evolved into a highly developed complex over the years–now providing the visitor with a variety of Park Service and concessioner facilities, to include: first-class overnight lodging, a Rim Center, a 54 -site campground, a store/cafeteria complex, a concessioner employee dormitory, and interpretive structures (Sinnott Memorial and a small, outdated exhibit building).
The circulation system and associated parking facilities in the Rim Village area have also been expanded over the years in an effort to accommodate the heavy concentration of visitors. During peak traffic periods, the zone between the lodge and the cafeteria might best be compared to a busy suburban shopping center.
Facilities operated by the concession, which collectively serve a broad spectrum of visitor needs, are the most conspicuous of the manmade features at Rim Village. National Park Service development is, in contrast, distinctly low profile. The existing Rim Village design creates an area where the automobile has priority and the pedestrian must fend for himself. The resulting congestion clearly dilutes the visitor’s opportunity to quietly enjoy the rim’s central feature–the view of Crater Lake.
Clearly, the role of the Rim Village must be reevaluated with the protection of the resource (Crater Lake) as well as the needs of the visitor in mind. Existing development must be reassessed to insure that facilities not essential to proper interpretation, enjoyment, and management of the park are eliminated. Future development, if needed, must be planned according to real needs, to insure that Crater Lake, and not the Rim Village, is the prime attraction and experience of the visitor at Crater Lake National Park.