Assessment – 07 E. Visitor Orientation/Interpretation Facilities

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:

E. Visitor Orientation/Interpretation Facilities

Currently, orientation information on Crater Lake National Park is available at the south and north entrance stations and at the park administration building in Munson Valley. Additionally, general information about the park is also available at the U.S. Forest Service facilities at Diamond Lake to the north and the Lost Creek Dam visitor center (Corps of Engineers project) to the west.

Since Crater Lake is essentially a day-use park and only one of the many “highlights” of the Pacific Northwest, the park must not only develop a thorough visitor information/orientation program for Crater Lake but must also explore the feasibility of developing a regional information program with the many surrounding federal, state, and private recreational and resort facilities available in southern Oregon.

Presently, interpretation of Crater Lake is centered about the Rim Village complex, largely within a small, antiquated exhibit building, the adjacent Sinnott Memorial, and evening programs at Crater Lake Lodge. Numerous onsite displays and/or roving interpreters, explaining various features of the park and its history, are located at strategic points along the Rim Drive.

The Grayback Motor Nature Road, located in the southeastern portion of the park, displays the evolution of the surrounding landscape, with splendid examples of glacial action and spectacular views of the Klamath Basin.

A 500-seat, rear projection amphitheater is located at Mazama Campground where evening interpretive programs are offered nightly.

A number of self-guided nature trails, accessible from the main road system, are located at strategic points through the park.

Boat trips on the lake include interpretive talks on the geology and ecology of the caldera. Programs and exhibits at Sinnott Memorial complement this feature.

Unquestionably, it is on the rim that the evolution and eventual destruction of Mount Mazama, as well as the park’s related themes, should be’ highlighted, utilizing onsite interpretation. For those who wish more, the options should be varied and available.

The central issue to be considered in this assessment is the need for a rim visitor complex which would provide orientation services, exhibit space, an indoor auditorium, office space, lounge and/or restrooms. If it is concluded that such facilities are needed, then the location and relationship of these facilities to other rim developments must be considered. Alternatives to a major rim center must also be explored.


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