Crater Lake National Park: Administrative History by Harlan D. Unrau and Stephen Mark, 1987

 CHAPTER NINE: Legislation Relating to Crater Lake National Park: 1916-Present


From the 1910s to the 1940s the National Park Service initiated a series of efforts to expand the boundaries of Crater Lake National Park. The primary purpose of these efforts was to enlarge the park to provide recreational opportunities and park facilities for visitors away from Crater Lake itself, and thus curtail or eliminate development that would mar the scenic and scientific qualities of the lake. A secondary purpose of the proposed expansion was to create an enlarged game preserve to protect the wildlife of the region. The focus of the expansion efforts was the Diamond Lake-Mount Thielson-Mount Bailey region to the north of the park and the Union Creek-Upper Rogue River Valley to the west.

In his first annual report NPS Director Mather recommended that the Crater Lake park boundaries should be extended northward to include the Diamond Lake region. This addition, according to Mather, would offer the tourist a variety of scenic features that “would compare favorably with the diversity of scenery in most of the very large mountain parks.” Other advantages of the Diamond Lake extension were:

Diamond Lake lies a few miles north of the park in a region that is valuable for none other than recreational purposes. Fishing in the lake could be improved and the region around about it made attractive for camping. A chalet or hotel, operated in connection with the hotel on the rim of Crater Lake, could be constructed near Diamond Lake when travel to the park warranted these additional accommodations. It would be reasonable to expect that the majority of visitors to Crater Lake would not overlook an opportunity to see the wonderful scenic region to the northward. Besides Diamond Lake the proposed addition to the park would include Mount Thielson, a peak considerably over 9,000 feet in altitude and known as the “lightning rod of the Cascades,” because during electric storms brilliant and fantastic flashes of lightning play about its needlelike summit.

Mather stressed that the addition of the Diamond Lake and Mount Thielson areas could “not be too strongly urged.” A branch road from the main highway from Medford already made the Diamond Lake country accessible, and at some future time “a circle trip might be provided by the construction of a road from the north rim of Crater Lake to Diamond Lake.”

A second park extension recommended by Mather was the Lake of the Woods region just south of the park. While the area had not been investigated by representatives of the National Park Service, it was “known to be an exceptionally beautiful region and valuable for scarcely anything besides park purposes.” [71]