Brooks Camp Developed Area changes relating to capacities of the Brooks Camp Visitor Center and wildlife viewing platforms

Reduced Capacity Justification and Standard Operating Procedures

36 CFR Section 13.1242 authorizes the Superintendent of Katmai National Park to prohibit or otherwise restrict activities in the Brooks Camp Developed Area (BCDA) to protect public health and safety or park resources. The ongoing coronavirus global pandemic has caused the NPS to reevaluate its operations at the BCDA in order to address related public health and safety concerns. Consequently, in order to reinforce public health guidelines and allow visitors the space needed to practice social distancing, Katmai National Park has reduced capacities at the Brooks Camp Visitor Center and the Brooks River Wildlife Viewing Platforms. This hereby serves as a written justification of this action and will be maintained available for review at the park’s visitor centers, headquarters as well as online.

Effective July 1, 2020 and until further notice the following visitor capacities are established:

Location Maximum Number of Household Groups Maximum Number of Individuals
Brooks Camp Visitor Center/Bookstore 1 2
Brooks Camp Visitor Center- Orientation Room 2 4
Brooks Camp Courtyard adjacent to the Visitor Center 5 20
Brooks Camp Fenced Picnic Area 3 12
Brooks River- Falls Overlook Platform 4 16
Brooks River - Treehouse Platform 5 20
Brooks River- Riffles Platform 5 20

Park staff will limit bear safety orientations inside the Brooks Camp Visitor Center using established limits so that appropriate social distancing can be practiced at all times. The Brooks Camp Visitor Center will be open for bear orientations 8 a.m.—6 p.m. If visitors arrive in such numbers that it creates unreasonable wait times and crowding outside the Visitor Center, Park staff will facilitate bear safety orientations outdoors as staffing levels allow. Between groups, Visitor Center staff will clean high touch surface areas following CDC guidelines.

Additionally, Park staff at the Falls Wildlife Viewing Platforms will enforce the reduced capacity viewing limits so that a minimum of six feet of open space between each group is maintained. When the number of visitors wishing to visit the Falls Platform exceeds its capacity, Park staff will organize a wait list and limit visitors to one hour on the platform at a time so that other visitors may have their turn. Park staff will identify designated places to stand at the Falls Platform and the waiting area at the Treehouse so that social distancing can be maintained. If visitor demand exceeds the limits established here at each platform park staff will work to adjust operations to accommodate. Park staff may reduce the time visitors are allowed on the Falls, Treehouse and Riffles platforms, or they may require newly arriving visitors to the platform area to return to the elevated bridge and boardwalk in order to establish a one-in one-out process in an area where social distancing can continue to be practiced. If social distancing cannot be maintained at each of the falls area platforms at all times the Falls Wildlife Viewing Platforms will be closed until a new and effective process for managing visitation in this area can be established.

Park staff will continually evaluate changing conditions and adjust Brooks Camp operations as needed to follow current health guidelines.

Last updated: February 19, 2021

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