Park Planning

Smoke from a prescribed burn rolls along pine forest floor. Flames flicker at downed tree.
Prescribed burn

L.Snook

This page is your portal to significant recent and past park planning documents. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.

Accessibility Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan (SETP) 2018 9 MB
Visitor Study (2016) Complete Report 5 MB
Visitor Study (2016) Results Only 4 MB
Foundation Document (2015) 6 MB

Please visit our Fire Management page for more specific information on Lake Roosevelt fire management and fuel reduction projects.

Visitor Use Site Management Plan (VUSMP)

In an effort to plan future updates and improvements to visitor services, the National Park Service has created this draft Visitor Use Site Management Plan for nine locations at Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. The purpose of Visitor Use Site Management Planning in parks is to define appropriate facility functions (i.e., campgrounds, boat launches, and day use areas); recommend infrastructure redesigns considering visitor use management including visitor use patterns, connections between sites, use types, site resources, and facilities; establish a consistent, unified character for development; and guide decisions on capital improvements, preservation, and development.

Visitor Use Site Management Plan Newsletter provides a summary of the plan.

Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions

Q. What is a Visitor Site Use Management Plan?
A Visitor Site Use Management Plan will define appropriate facility functions (i.e., campgrounds, boat launches, and day use areas); recommend infrastructure redesigns considering visitor use management including visitor use patterns, connections between sites, use types, site resources, and facilities; establish a consistent, unified character for development; and guide decisions on capital improvements, preservation, and development.


Q. Why is the NPS undertaking this project?
A. Management strategies and supporting improvements are needed at these nine heavily used sites to address a wider range of visitor interests and needs related to camping, boating, day use, and other activities. Because recreation uses are changing and visitors are using a variety of camping vehicles, many of them larger than in past decades, there is a need to improve and update campgrounds. The NPS is considering diversifying and enhancing overnight camping experiences and recreation opportunities as well as improving visitor safety through circulation and access improvements at the nine locations. By directing and concentrating visitor use in appropriate areas, it is expected that there would be less congestion and conflicts in use, resulting in an enhanced visitor experience. The NPS also would update facilities to meet federal accessibility standards, increase the sustainability of facilities and resources, and improve the efficiency of maintenance and care of the nine sites.

Q. What will this project accomplish?
A Visitor Site Use Management Plan will define appropriate facility functions (i.e., campgrounds, boat launches, & day use areas); recommend infrastructure redesigns considering visitor use management including visitor use patterns, connections between sites, use types, site resources, & facilities; establish a consistent, unified character for development; and guide decisions on capital improvements, preservation, & development.

Q. Why is the Park Service only looking at these nine sites?
A. The Park Service is looking at the nine most popular and heavily used sites at LARO. Evaluating design changes at these nine locations will help inform future redesign actions and opportunities at other LARO locations.

Q. When will the project start and end?
A. The public portion of the process begins on May 1, 2020 and ends on May 31, 2020. The plan is scheduled to be finalized by September 1, 2020. However, implementation of the action items will take place as funds become available.

Q. Who is doing this plan?
A. The National Park Service staff at Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, Pacific West Regional Office, and Denver Service Center, with the aid of a contractor, Otak, Inc. are preparing the plan, with input from partner agencies, government officials, and the public.


Q. Are there funds to do this work?
A. At present, there are no funds to undertake all aspects of the plan. However, various aspects of the plan may be implemented as funds come available, as not all actions need be completed simultaneously.

Q: What will this project cost?
A: Forecasting the cost of a project like this in not easy, as most of the actions in this project will be undertaken at various times, as funding becomes available. However, if we were able to complete all the projects the costs is estimated in today’s dollars to be $64,929,532, with individual sites broken down as follows:
  • EVANS, $5,157,412
  • KETTLE FALLS, $14,490,336
  • MARCUS ISLAND, $1,088,748
  • GIFFORD, $9,052,976
  • HUNTERS, $5,763,563
  • FORT SPOKANE, $8,469,758
  • PORCUPINE, $8,187,916
  • KELLER FERRY, $6,383,671
  • SPRING CANYON, $6,335,153

Q. How are comments evaluated?
A. Comments should be as specific and substantive as possible. A substantive comment does one of the following:
  • provides new information about the Proposed Action, an alternative or the analysis;
  • identifies a different way to meet the need; points out a specific flaw in the analysis;
  • suggests alternate methodologies and the reason(s) why they should be used; or,
  • makes factual corrections, or identifies a different source of credible research which, if used in the analysis, could result in different effects.
Q. Will the same services be provided that currently exist at these locations?
A. While no action is set in stone, there are some amenities that may be altered and/or removed from various locations. While campgrounds, day use areas, and boat launch areas will be provided, proposals to change the size of some campsites, removing swim docks, and changing some boat launch uses (i.e., moving one to non-motorized launching) are proposed.

Q: Will RV sites have full hook-ups?
A: While developing some camp sites so RV’s can be accommodated, there are no current plans to provide electricity or sewer capabilities. The National Park Service does not have the infrastructure or capabilities with the lands available to accommodate these items.

Q: Why are you proposing to remove swim docks?
A: Many people enjoy swim docks or platforms. However, each year we find people choosing to disregard safety precautions not to dive or jump off these platforms. While we are not attempting to limit recreation access or enjoyment, we also do not want to have facilities that appear to be safe to use. When originally installed, water levels on the reservoir where consistent throughout the summer season with very little fluctuations. Now with downstream water demands for irrigation, municipal use, and fish passage requirements, water levels fluctuate dramatically during the summer season causing unpredictable depths beneath the swim docks at various beach access areas. With fluctuating lake levels, safe depths for platform use cannot be assured. Use of these docks has resulted in near-drowning, major impact injuries such as head/spinal injuries, slip/trip/fall injuries (including bone fracture and breaks) and cut/lesion/puncture injuries. The NPS does not have the means to provide lifeguards to enforce safety measures. Without this measure, we are being irresponsible by providing mechanisms that facilitate unsafe conditions. Swim docks are not required for visitor recreation.

Q: What are the highest priority sites?
A: In this project, the highest priority sites are those that provide benefit to the greatest number of visitors. With that in mind, the priority listing would be:
  • Fort Spokane
  • Porcupine Bay
  • Spring Canyon
  • Keller Ferry
  • Kettle Falls
  • Hunters
  • Gifford
  • Evans
  • Marcus Island

Q. Will these proposals increase capacity at these locations?
A. These proposed actions are not meant to increase capacity in these areas apart from Spring Canyon campground where an additional large RV loop has been proposed. Many of these actions are focused on improving the visitor experience and bringing these areas in-line with current and future recreational trends.

Q. These improvement proposals appear to focus on RV’s and other large self-contained recreational vehicle camping, are there going to be more opportunities for tent camping and smaller vehicles?
A. While many of the proposals outlined in the plan do highlight the need to increase the size of some camping sites, the proposed actions also look at redistributing/redesigning smaller walk-in tent sites and small RV areas to allow for a better visitor experience based on visitor wants and needs.

Q. I noticed there is a proposal to change the Marcus Island boat launch to a non-motorized launch. Why is that?
A. When originally installed, water levels on the reservoir where consistent throughout the summer season with very little fluctuations. Now with downstream water demands for irrigation, municipal use, and fish passage requirements, water levels fluctuate dramatically during the summer season, resulting in the Marcus Island boat launch being usable by motorized boats for about 2-4 weeks each year. Making this a non-motorized launch increases use of the launch, while also reducing the traffic congestion of the site.

Last updated: August 7, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area
1008 Crest Drive

Coulee Dam, WA 99116

Phone:

509-754-7800

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