Rehabilitation of Highway 62 West, Crater Lake National Park, Klamath County, Oregon
ISSUES AND IMPACT TOPICS
Impact Topics Dismissed From Detailed Analysis
The Wilderness Act of 1964 “established a National Wilderness Preservation System to be composed of federally owned areas designated by Congress as ‘wilderness areas,’ and these shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness.” Among other mandates are the protection of wilderness areas and the preservation of their wilderness character. Wilderness characteristics are defined in the Wilderness Act as:
- The earth and its community of life are untrammeled by humans, where humans are visitors and do not remain.
- The area is undeveloped and retains its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation.
- The area generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of humans’ work substantially unnoticeable.
- The area is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions.
- The area offers outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation.
Park staff proposed wilderness boundaries in 1974, 1984, and 1994. The 1994 proposal, based on the 1984 Crater Lake Road Improvement Study, modified earlier 1974 and 1984 wilderness proposals and delineated clearer boundaries for areas excluded from the wilderness designation.
The 1994 wilderness proposal included all of the acreage in Crater Lake National Park with exclusions for road corridors, utility lines, and administrative sites. “The road corridor is defined as being 200 feet from centerline for all roads, adjacent viewpoints, or picnic areas regularly maintained for motorized access by visitors. This corridor will allow for regular maintenance and hazard tree management and excludes a total of 2,430 acres in the park from wilderness designation. Other exclusions from wilderness associated with the road corridor are a 600-foot radius from the intersection of where some currently maintained trails intersect with roads. This was made to permit needed future development at trailheads where visitor safety necessitates additional parking and signage.”
The legislative process has not been completed for the Crater Lake National Park Wilderness Designation proposal. However, it is the policy of the National Park Service (2001 NPS Management Policies, Chapter 6: Wilderness Preservation and Management) to “take no action that would diminish the wilderness suitability of an area possessing wilderness characteristics until the legislative process has been completed. Until that time, management decisions pertaining to lands qualifying as wilderness will be made in expectation of eventual wilderness designation. This policy also applies to potential wilderness, requiring it to be managed as wilderness…”
Although some construction work on the road would be near the proposed wilderness boundary, proposed wilderness lands would be avoided during construction activities. In all alternatives, the road would remain in the area excluded from proposed wilderness designation (see figure 6). Prior to construction, the construction zone would be surveyed and construction tape, snow fencing, or some similar border material would be installed along the boundary. The border material would delineate the construction zone and no construction work, movement, or other activity would be allowed beyond the border material into proposed wilderness lands. There would be no long-term adverse consequences to proposed federally designated wilderness lands or potential wilderness values or solitude should the proposal be selected. Therefore, wilderness values has been dismissed as an impact topic in this environmental assessment.