SUMMARY AND HIGHLIGHTS
It has been one full-year since Craters of the Moon National Monument
was increased some 13-fold in size via Presidential Proclamation in
order to provide protection for the entire Great Rift volcanic rift zone
of southeastern Idaho. The proclamation also changed administration for
the monument by providing for management of the area by both the
National Park Service (NPS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
During the year an agreement has been prepared and signed by both
agencies which provides in general how the two agencies will share
resources and otherwise cooperate in managing the area. We have also
prepared Interim Management Guidelines to guide on-the-ground management
decisions until a management plan is completed. We organized an
interdisciplinary planning team late in 2001 to begin the process of
working with the public in crafting a new management plan. Through the
production and distribution of new informational brochures, expansion of
the NPS web site and creation of a new BLM web site, and installation of
a network of new signs and roadside kiosks we have greatly expanded
available public information on the newly expanded monument.
The attached charts display the park budget and staffing for fiscal
Visitation: Annual visitation was 185,800, down 12 % from calendar
Visitor Survey: For the fourth consecutive year we surveyed a
sampling of park visitors.
- 100% indicated an overall satisfaction with facilities and
- 88% reflected an understanding of the significance of the resources
of Craters of the Moon National Monument following their visit
Highlights among many projects and accomplishments include:
- Completed the final field season of a three year herpetology
inventory in cooperation with Idaho State University. In addition to
validation of known species, two new species were recorded and added to
- Filled a new staff position of Plant Ecologist to provide
professional oversight of our efforts to control invasive weeds,
maintain current and accurate vascular plant inventories and manage
wildland fires for resource benefit.
- Undertook mapping of noxious weed infestations along 32 miles of
road corridor recently added to the Monument and expanded aggressive
control efforts to about 30 acres of additional lands.
INTERPRETATION AND EDUCATION
In addition to the regular interpretation and educational programs
provided at the Monument:
- Completed conceptual design of a series of eleven new waysides to be
placed in the south end of the recently expanded Monument. Installed
two new waysides along U.S. Highway 93 to help travelers seeking
information on the Monument.
- Completed a number of projects related to the expansion of the
Monument including new ranger programs at off-site locations; production
of materials for new informational kiosks installed on roads leading
into the new areas of the Monument; and publication of several new and
revised park informational materials.
- Completed a project for a new educational web site entitled
"Visit the Moon Without Leaving Idaho" targeting middle school
and high school level students across the country.
CRATERS OF THE MOON NATURAL HISTORY ASSOCIATION
In response to the expansion of the Monument the Board of Directors
voted to increase its number from six to twelve directors, representing
a much broader geographic area. The Association donated $10,000 to the
NPS for Monument projects, in addition to providing visitor services
valued at $30,000. With the drop in visitation this year, sales were
also down noticeably.
VISITOR AND RESOURCE PROTECTION
In a continuing effort to provide for visitor and employee safety, a
team of cave experts examined the front-country caves most frequented by
visitors. As a result we closed portions of these caves to public
access and provided visitors with more information on exploring caves
We entered into an agreement with the BLM to coordinate our wildland
fire protection and suppression efforts more closely and efficiently.
It was a relatively quiet year for fires with only two fires within the
NPS portion of the Monument and less than two acres burned.
FACILITY DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE
In addition to routine, ongoing maintenance of grounds and
facilities, a number of projects to improve the visitor experience and
to help protect park resources were completed or initiated this
- Replaced the pit toilets in the group campground with pre-fabricated
- Constructed new trail; rehabilitated old trail; and constructed a
viewing area on the Broken Top Loop Trail, an intended
educational-emphasis trail for school group use.
- Modified doors into the visitor center to improve
- Provided construction supervision, labor and coordination for the
first phase of a major rehabilitation of the park's potable water
system including replacing and burying two miles of waterline,
installing flow meters, and drilling a new well.
- Replaced carpet in the visitor center lobby and exhibit room.