Construction projects beginning at Crater Lake
Herald and News
Klamath Falls, Oregon
May 24, 2005
By LEE JUILLERAT
A decades-long effort to return Crater Lake National Park’s Rim Village to pedestrians will become a reality next week when long-awaited work begins on tearing out the existing parking lot.
For many of the half-million people who visit the park annually, their first glimpse of the lake is seen from a car or other motor vehicle while entering Rim Village.
Not much longer.
The first phase of a project to update visitor services at the park’s Rim Village begins Wednesday, June 1. Part of the project includes rehabilitating a portion of the cafeteria/gift store building into a smaller facility, but the main focus is relocating the parking lot to the rear of the building and creating a walking plaza between the building and lake.
“We’re very, very excited to see it get started,” said Superintendent Chuck Lundy.
“It will elevate the visitors’ experiences,” said park spokesman Michael Justin of the upcoming Rim Village work.
Justin and Lundy said the design will relieve conflicts between pedestrians viewing the lake and vehicles traveling in the Rim Village area. The downsizing of the cafeteria-gift shop will provide other advantages. The area currently used as the Watchman restaurant will have added dormer windows for year-round lake viewing.
Although money is not yet available, park officials plan to have the original 1928 camper’s store renovated as a year-round visitor contact station and interpretive center.
The rim cafeteria will not be open during the construction, so a temporary concession gift store is operating in the historic Rim Village Community House while limited take-out food service is available at a temporary trailer. Some snack items are also available at the Munson Valley visitor center.
Until construction is completed next summer, Rim Village’s main parking lot will remain closed, although a two-lane road will remain until the new parking area is completed next summer.
Some parking will be available along the Rim Village promenade. Because of the parking limitations and for safety reasons, Rim Village will be closed to oversized vehicles during certain periods. Oversized vehicles include any vehicle larger than a full-sized, single rear-wheel, one-ton pickup or any vehicle towing a trailer or other vehicle.
The only access for oversized vehicles will be for people with reservations at Crater Lake Lodge, vehicles with handicapped plates or placards, and authorized administrative, support and construction vehicles.
“We expect congestion during the middle of the day and on weekends at Rim Village, which is the most popular destination in the park,”Justin said. “Visitors are encouraged to consider bringing a picnic lunch and driving out East Rim Drive or West Rim Drive to one of the many scenic pull-outs to enjoy lake views from those spots instead of Rim Village.”
Various road projects are also planned. Eight miles of Highway 62 from the southwest park boundary to the park’s south entrance will be reconstructed by LTM Inc. of Medford through a $3.5 million contract by the Federal Highway Administration. The project includes realigning hazardous curves, replacing guardrails, stabilizing existing asphalt pavement, and overlaying the highway with new pavement. Work is expected to continue through late September.
The project will create some traffic delays throughout the summer. Delays may last up to 20 minutes. Work will be done from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays beginning June 6.
The road project will also require heavy truck traffic on Highway 62 from Fort Klamath because loaded trucks will travel from Fort Klamath to the work area. There may be as many as 50 trucks operating at a time.