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Crater Lake Trail Plan

Crater Lake National Park has invited  participation in public scoping for the forthcoming Crater Lake National Park Trail Management Plan (TMP), a comprehensive trail network, from March 21, 2014 to April 20, 2014.  E-mail comments to scott_burch@nps.gov or submit comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. Select Crater Lake National Park as the park.

The goal is to
• Evaluate trends in changing cultural and social demographics to assess current and emerging recreational opportunities.
• Identify opportunities to broaden and deepen the visitor experience through a diversity of recreational and educational alternatives.
• Design a cohesive trail system that provides equitable access and enables a diversity of recreational options contributing to public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of park values.
• Incorporate the principles of sustainable design and development into all new trails.
• Address issues unique to Pacific Crest Trail in Crater Lake National Park
• Identify and decommission obsolete trails and restore them to their native condition.
• Construct new trails and support facilities as appropriate to management zoning while preserving desired resource conditions.

Here is a trail plan suggestion, recommended by William L. Sullivan.

I believe Crater Lake needs to connect its currently fragmented trail system, so that hikers can begin at the Mazama Campground or the Park Headquarters and hike directly to the lake's rim or other park destinations.

I also believe that this is one of the few great national parks that lacks a grand backpacking challenge, on a par with Mt. Rainier's Wonderland Trail or Yosemite's John Muir Trail. The problem is that Crater Lake's obvious hiking route, around the crater rim, was pre-empted by an automobile road in the early years of the park's history. This decision has long been regretted, and although the road cannot be removed, there is a good route for a "Mount Mazama Trail" that loops around the volcano's caldera, visiting some of the lesser used parts of the park and lesser used parts of the lake's rim.

If this "Mount Mazama Trail" concept is endorsed by the National Park Service, it would very likely receive cash grants from REI and the Mazamas. It is also likely that volunteers would offer to help with trail construction on such a high-visibility project with world-class attention.

If you agree or if you have different suggestions, E-mail comments to scott_burch@nps.gov or submit comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov.