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Contact: Darlene M. Koontz, 530-595-6102Lassen Volcanic National Park News Release
September 9, 2014
For Immediate Release
Darlene M. Koontz
Mineral, CA - Lassen Volcanic National Park Looking for Input on Bumpass Hell Trails. Lassen Volcanic National Park wants your ideas on managing the trails and to improve access in the Bumpass Hell basin area. While the Bumpass Hell basin is a popular destination for many visitors to the park, including school groups, it is also a large hydrothermal area that exemplifies the dynamic, ever-changing geologic environment found at Lassen. Currently, visitors may travel by foot along the main trail from the Bumpass Hell parking area into the basin where they walk along a boardwalk that traverses a portion of the hydrothermal area. Additional trails in the area also offer views of the features, including another access trail that allows for exploration of the southern portion of the basin.
Maintenance of the existing boardwalk is difficult and costly. Boiling pools, mudpots and steam vents move over time and necessitate a constant relocation of the structure. The heavy annual snow load frequently causes large portions of the boardwalk to shift and collapse. Repairs are difficult to complete and the relocation of the boardwalk is not always possible due to the location of hydrothermal features and unstable soils. Currently, the eastern end of the boardwalk is being undermined by a large hydrothermal feature, the pyrite pool. Other existing hydrothermal features in this area prevent a relocation of this section of the boardwalk. This section will need to be removed within the next year to prevent loss of the structure into the pyrite pool.
Because of the high visitation to Bumpass Hell basin and the desire to provide an up-close experience near the hydrothermal features and the danger associated with off-trail travel in this hydrothermal area, trails and some boardwalks are a necessity to provide safe visitor access while also protecting the hydrothermal features themselves.
The park is in the initial planning stages to develop a new trail concept for the Bumpass Hell basin. Under consideration are several options to provide and improve the unique experience of visiting this area and the park would appreciate input from the public. For all options, a portion of the existing boardwalk must be removed for resource protection and unfeasibility of maintenance due to the encroaching hydrothermal features.
Potential Options to Maintain Access and Resource Protection to the Bumpass Hell Basin include:
- To remediate anticipated future maintenance and safety concerns associated with the remaining boardwalk, the entire boardwalk would be removed and access to the basin would occur via a loop trail that would be constructed by creating a trail on the north slope of the basin that would tie into existing trails surrounding the basin.
- The remaining boardwalk not currently undermined would stay in place and would be stabilized.
- Existing overlooks and the terminuses of the remaining boardwalk sections would be enlarged to accommodate larger groups of people.
- An additional loop trail would be constructed around the basin by building a new trail along the northern slope of the basin that would tie into existing trails surrounding the basin and allow a different view of the hydrothermal features.
- Improving the existing basin overlook on the main Bumpass Hell trail and add/update interpretive panels.
- Delineate overlooks on other existing trails in the basin so they are more clearly defined.
- Provide/update interpretive panels along trails in the basin.
We invite you to comment on these ideas and provide us with any other ideas you may have to continue a safe, enjoyable experience while visiting the Bumpass Hell Basin. Please visit the park website for more information and to provide comments: https://www.nps.gov/lavo/parkmgmt/.