Social Impacts of Design Alternatives, Crater Lake National Park



FINDING: Most development at Crater Lake has been close to the caldera rim. In this research we observed user behavior to see how design changes might affect use patterns and visitor experiences (pp. 1-2).

FINDING: Rim Village is a center of visitor activity. Observations indicate that most visitors park in the cafeteria lot and head for the cafeteria or rim area 1, visiting both before leaving. Most visitors never get to the other rim areas or the interpretive facilities (pp. 2-6).

FINDING: Experimental closure of the cafeteria lot changed the existing use pattern, more than doubling the use of rim area 2 and the interpretive facilities (pp. 6-10).

CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that the “development concept” outlined in the 1976 D.S.C. (Alternative 1) might not meet management objectives. Other alternatives are discussed (pp. 10-14).

RECOMMENDATION: Any redevelopment at Rim Village, including changes in the lodge, should be considered in light of overall use patterns and their effect on visitor experiences.

FINDING: Occupancy rates vary in the different parking lots, visitor activities, and use of barriers vary in the different rim areas, and shopping for curios is the predominant activity in the cafeteria building (pp. 15-18).

CONCLUSION: Visitors appear more likely to stop at pull-outs with large parking areas, parking separated from the road, a good view of the lake, obviously visible interpretive signs, and greater overall development. These act as “cues” which tell visitors that a site is “important” (pp. 19-25).

FINDING: Visitors are more likely to get out of their cars if there is a better view from outside and if an attraction such as an interpretive sign can be read only from outside (pp. 27-29).

CONCLUSION: Structures can be manipulated to encourage visitors to get out of their cars if this is a management goal (p. 30).

FINDING: Barriers are used in different ways, depending on their type and location relative to visitor attractions (pp. 30-39).

FINDING: Visitors are not evenly dispersed on roads around Rim Drive. Observations at road junctions suggest that use of road segments ranges from less than 10% to more than 60% of all park visitors (pp. 39-47, summarized on p. 48).

FINDING: Use of pull-outs also varies. “Most used” pull-outs are the Watchman and North Junction (pp. 47, 49).

CONCLUSION: Information regarding distribution of use can be used in designing interpretive efforts, allocating resources for construction and repair, and attempting to redistribute use (p. 47).

FINDING: Visitors ask different questions at different locations within the park (pp. 50-54).

CONCLUSION: A key to interpretation is giving people the right information at the right time. Information needs vary from one location to another, so information systems should be designed accordingly. In general, park personnel answer the same few questions over and over, so it may be desirable to anticipate the most common questions with “broadcast” approaches such as signs or interpretive talks.

FINDING: Most campers stay in Mazama Campground only one or two nights, and most do not make trips to Rim Village solely for the purpose of buying supplies.

CONCLUSION: The addition of shower and laundry facilities may increase the number of nights that parties stay in the campground, thereby reducing the percentage of visitors who have the opportunity to camp. A camper-services store will not greatly reduce congestion at Rim Village (pp. 57-58).


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