Welcome to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area Management Plan Revision, Commercial Guide, Outfitter, and Transport Services Project
The U.S. Forest Service is planning to modify the 1996 management plan for the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area (MGRA) specific to commercial allocations of visitor use. This analysis excludes the Dredge Lakes Unit. (A separate Dredge Lakes Unit Management plan will be prepared in the future). There is a need to revisit commercial allocations in the Recreation Area because there have been significant changes in infrastructure and visitor use characteristics since 1996.
Since the last MGRA Management Plan was written in 1996, visitor use has changed in a number of ways.
The visitor use season has expanded, with visitors arriving earlier in the year and visiting later in the year. The 1996 MGRA Management Plan identified the season of use as May 15th to September 15th of each year. The actual visitor use season has expanded to May 1st to September 30th.
The number of visitors to the MGRA has also increased significantly. The number of visitors to the MGRA Visitor Center has more than doubled, from 200,000 in 1999 to more than 400,000 in 2013.
The type of visitor to the MGRA has changed. Although the majority of visitors still spend a short time to view and photograph the glacier and visit the Visitor Center, an increasing number of visitors are looking for a more active experience, such as hiking or boating with a guide.
Visitor demand for river rafting excursions has been decreasing for the last decade while demand for guided excursions on the lake has been increasing.
Forest Service policies call for evaluating commercial allocations and capacities when there are significant changes to use or demand (Forest Service Handbook 2709.14, Chapter 50). Visitor use and demand for visitor services at MGRA has changed significantly since 1996, resulting in a need to re-evaluate the amount and types of commercial activities that may be accommodated at MGRA without detrimental environmental and/or social impacts.
Click here to go to the USFS MGRA Management Plan Revision site.