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 and facilities.


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 funds.

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.

Backcountry Use: Overnight use: 62
North end day use permits: 6
Horse use permits: 0
Arco Tunnel: 13 permits


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 Crater
  • 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 program
  • 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 reprints
  • 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.


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 visitor center.


  • The park continues to support the DARE programs in Butte County schools, specifically with Chief Ranger George Rummele serving as a DARE officer.
  • 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.

Fee Collection:

Entrance Station:
Single entrance
Commercial tour
Golden Eagle
Golden Age
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 completed.
  • The carpeting in the administrative areas of the visitor center was replaced.
  • 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 vehicle.
  • A new telephone system with voice-mail capability was purchased and installed.
  • A microwave system was installed to upgrade the park's telephone service to handle the requirements of electronic data receipt and transmission.
  • 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 residences.


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