Warner Valley Comprehensive Site Plan

Horseback riders cross a new boardwalk that permits natural water flow in the restored Drakesbad Meadow.
A new boardwalk permits the natural flow of water in the restored Drakesbad Meadow area.

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Warner Valley Comprehensive Site Plan / Final Environmental Impact Statement

The Warner Valley Comprehensive Site Plan (CSP) was developed to address natural and cultural resource conflicts in Warner Valley in an integrated way. The plan is focused on the protection of the cultural landscape at Drakesbad Guest Ranch and the historic and cultural resources in Warner Valley. In particular, the plan includes protection measures for unique natural resources including sensitive wetlands and the geothermal features in the surrounding areas. The plan also addresses visitor access, facilities, and programs.

Record of Decision

The Record of Decision for the Warner Valley Comprehensive Site Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement was signed by NPS Regional Director Christine Lehnertz in March 2011. This document includes a history of the project and the rationale for choosing among alternative actions, as well as a description of the natural and cultural resource improvement projects included in the selected alternative.

Drakesbad Meadow Restoration

In the park's Warner Valley area, an historic fen surrounding the Drakesbad Guest Ranch area has been restored to its original condition. During the early part of the 19th century, the Drakesbad fen was drained to provide better pasturage for domestic livestock. This was accomplished by digging ditches (thousands of linear feet) throughout the wetter portions of the fen to route spring meltwaters into Hot Springs Creek more rapidly. This effectively dewatered (and degraded) an uncommon montane fen ecosystem.

In the fall of 2012, the park identified the deepest ditches and carefully filled them with a soil mixture prepared for the project. The fill area was then revegetated using special techniques to slow and spread the flow of water at the surface. Within just a few days after completion of the fill project, the water table began to rise, and will be monitored for at least another year. A new boardwalk now replaces a gravel trail connecting Drakesbad Lodge and the area trail network. The walkway permits the natural flow of water across the area while providing for the passage of hikers and horseback riders.

Drakesbad Meadow restoration progression
This series illustrates the progression of Drakesbad Meadow throughout the restoration process.

NPS Photos


Dream Lake Restoration Complete
In 2011, park staff breached and then removed Dream Lake dam. As the lake drained away, four spring-fed streams carved meandering channels in the exposed lake bottom and watered a flush of new meadow plants. Additional native plants were planted to vegetate the lake bottom and the area once occupied by the dam.

Dream Lake dam removal progression
This series illustrates the progression of Dream Lake basin throughout the restoration process.

NPS Photos


Last updated: January 27, 2018

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