SUPERINTENDENT'S ANNUAL NARRATIVE REPORT
CRATERS OF THE MOON NATIONAL MONUMENT
SUMMARY AND HIGHLIGHTS
The staff of Craters of the Moon National Monument, with assistance
from the Natural History Association and specific technical support from
other National Park offices and units, continues to provide a very high
level of services and facilities to our visitors. A survey of park
visitors, conducted as part of a University of Idaho designed
service-wide survey of national park units, indicates that 99% of our
visitors feel satisfied or better about the overall quality of services
Budget: The ONPS program authorization was $707,000.
Withdrawals for uniforms, radio maintenance agreement, and support of
regional and cluster operational needs totaled $17,300. Following is a
table displaying the FY 98 budget, including annual supplemental
Personnel: Attached is a chart of the employees at the peak
of the summer season. Notable changes this year was the conversion of
seasonal laborer Verna Garner to permanent subject-to-furlough Motor
Vehicle Operator and the addition of Biological Science Technician (STF)
Michael Munts to the permanent staff.
Visitation: Annual visitation was 193,304, down 11% from
1997. Most parks in the Rocky Mountain and Western states experienced
visitation drops this year.
||Overnight use: 62|
North end day use permits: 6
Horse use permits: 0
A number of resource protection or mitigation projects and
inventory/monitoring tasks were undertaken this year.
- Prototype log barriers to protect sensitive geologic features from
visitors were installed along the Buffalo Cave Trail and at Big
- Prototype procedures for systematic monitoring of the condition of
geologic features were initiated; a new program for placement of a
"geologist in the parks" in partnership with the Student
Conservation Association was instrumental in developing this
- The park was the successful applicant for a $39,000 grant from the
National Park Foundation/American Airlines "Miles for Trails"
to rehabilitate the trails into the Spatter Cones to try to reverse the
trend of severe visitor impacts to these notable and fragile icons of
Craters of the Moon
- The park continued to conduct regular air quality monitoring in the
park, with funding under an Interagency Agreement with the Department of
Energy; also related to air quality and the Department of Energy, the
park continues to follow progress on the proposal to develop the
Advanced Mix Waste Treatment Plant east of the park boundary
- A number of trails, roads, and areas of interest for resource
condition monitoring were located into data files using Global
Positioning System equipment
- Work continued on rehabilitating lands previously disturbed by road
reconstruction with native plants and in control of noxious weeds
In addition resource staff participated as a member on the Regional
Natural Resource Advisory Team, represented the NPS on the Idaho
Interagency Air Quality Partnership, and participated in the Partners in
Flight and Idaho Bat Working Group meetings.
- The design, production and installation of a new set of three
waysides was completed for a "Kids Site" adjacent to the visitor center.
Funding was provided by the National Park Foundation. The art and text
for the exhibits was selected from entrees from local elementary
schools. The dedication was attended by school officials, media, park
staff, and friends and family of some of the students.
- Completed the design and production of a set of three new waysides
to be installed at Inferno Cone. Funding was largely provided by a
grant from the Idaho Humanities Council and from the Natural History
Association. In order to reduce the accumulation of visitor impacts
occurring to Inferno Cone, these new waysides will be installed at the
base of the cone and the three exhibits located on top of the cone in
different places removed. This will also enable visitors with
ambulatory difficulties to enjoy the exhibits.
- During the winter of 1997/1998 guided snowshoe walks with
educational programs on winter conditions and wildlife were introduced
on a trial basis. The public response was very favorable.
- Site bulletins were digitized to save time and money in future
- How the park provides its on-site educational program to schools was
reconsidered in respect to quality of program for schools, safety of
participants, and impacts to park resources and facilities. The result
was to reduce the number and size of school groups visiting the park.
While a reduction by 30% in the number of school children visiting the
park as part of a scheduled school visit resulted, most responses from
teachers have been positive. Also, for the first time in recent
history, the caves were closed to school groups and visitors in the
early spring to limit hazards to visitors.
- Planning for the 75th Anniversary in 1999 is progressing.
Events scheduled and completed in 1998 included a living history
portrayal of Robert Limbert in six major communities in Idaho (funding
from the Natural History Association and the Idaho Humanities Council);
presentations to a number of chambers of commerce and civic
organizations by the superintendent; and arrangements for participants
and sponsors for special events planned for 1999. We received a $8,000
Parks as Classroom grant and assisted Ririe School District in obtaining
a $5,500 grant from the Idaho Space Consortium for educational programs
in 1999 in support of the 75th Anniversary.
CRATERS OF THE MOON NATURAL HISTORY ASSOCIATION
Sales were down this year in response to reduced visitation.
However, the association contributed $27,455 in aid to the National Park
Service. The funding supports free publications for visitors, the
Junior Ranger program, the park library, and many educational and
interpretive program needs of the park. In addition the funds supported
the annual Winterfest, matching funds for various grants, and
preparations for the park's 75th Anniversary in 1999. NHA
staff greatly aid and assist the National Park Service in operating the
- The park continues to support the DARE programs in Butte County
schools, specifically with Chief Ranger George Rummele serving as a DARE
- The park continued in its support of interagency fire activities.
Chief Ranger Rummele continued his service as the Safety Officer to the
Blue Mountain Regional Interagency Incident Management Team as well as a
lead instructor for the facilitator instructor course at the National
Interagency Fire Center.
- There were no fires in the park, but personnel were provided to
support BLM on one wildland fire outside the park.
- The park acquired two new snow machines to be used in grooming the
cross-country ski trail and provide SAR capability.
- New equipment was purchased to permit visitors to use credit cards
for payment of fees beginning in 1999.
Emergency gas sals
|Total Entrance Station||$98,392|
- A construction contract to modify and enlarge the visitor restrooms
in the visitor center to accommodate accessibility standards was
- The carpeting in the administrative areas of the visitor center was
- The non-compliance chain gates along the loop drive were replaced
with gates meeting federal road standards.
- An addition to the park's water treatment building was completed.
This will allow the storage of corrosive liquids to be separated from
the water filtration equipment and the electrical supply.
- Installation of an accessible vaulted concrete restroom was
completed at the Tree Molds parking lot. Now all restroom facilities
along the loop drive are similar in appearance and function.
- To cut back on operational costs, the dump truck formerly leased and
used as a winter snow blade was turned back to GSA. A new snow blade
was purchased for the park- owned loader, allowing expanded use of that
- A new telephone system with voice-mail capability was purchased and
- A microwave system was installed to upgrade the park's telephone
service to handle the requirements of electronic data receipt and
- The fire and intrusion alarm system for the visitor center and
maintenance buildings was upgraded to be in compliance with codes and
expanded to include the museum storage currently in building 22B
(formerly a residence).
- Overhead garage doors and storm/screen doors were replaced on all
A concept plan for the Broken Top Loop Trail, including the Buffalo
Cave Trail, was completed. This plan will now serve as a guide for
funding, design and careful development of this area of the park.
In the spring the superintendent hosted Regional Director John
Reynolds, BLM State Director Martha Hahn, the Upper Snake River District
Manager (BLM), the Area Managers for the Shoshone, Snake River, and Big
Butte Resource Areas (BLM) and Dr. Mel Kuntz of the USGS on a tour of
the Crystal Ice Cave area of the Great Rift and a meeting to set in
motion a joint strategy for the future management and protection of the
general Great Rift region.
Continuing to meet the requirements of the Government Performance and
Results Act, the park modified its five-year strategic plan and produced
the necessary annual plans and reports.
Last Updated: 31-Jan-2005