49 B. Resource Management 1930-1942

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


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CHAPTER TWELVE: Resource Management In Crater Lake National Park: 1916-Present


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From 1930 to 1942, when World War II began to have a major impact on park operations, resource management concerns, except for forestry insect control programs, appeared to become secondary to other emphases such as development and construction. Park. management continued various programs, however, to promote the increase of park wildlife. Efforts were made to attract wildlife, such as deer, to visitor use areas, one example being the placement of brick salt at Anna Spring, park headquarters, and Rim Village in 1930. [19]

Park. management continued to monitor and encourage wildlife activities at Crater Lake during the 1930s. In the early years of the decade the Park Service began compiling estimated wildlife censuses for the parks. The earliest such census for Crater Lake that research uncovered was for 1932. That year it was estimated that big game animals in the park included 19 elk, 60 mule deer, 250 black-tailed deer, 2 antelope, and 40 black bears. [20] Later in the decade the park began preparing annual wildlife reports which consisted of estimates of various species and observations on their habitat and migratory patterns. The earliest such report that research uncovered was for 1940. In that year estimates of wildlife in the park included 10 badgers, 50 black. bears, 2 cascade bobcats, 5 mountain coyotes, 80 black-tailed deer, 25 mule deer, 6 white-tail deer, 6 Rocky Mountain elk, 10 Cascade red foxes, and 30 porcupines. [21]

By the late 1930s bear-visitor problems had become endemic at Crater Lake and other national parks, thus leading to increased concern for visitor protection and safety. As a result Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes issued a systemwide regulation forbidding the public to feed bears. In accordance with the new policy NPS Director Arno B. Cammerer wrote a letter to Superintendent Leavitt on March 24, 1938, urging him to initiate publicity and educational park programs to encourage the public to stay away from the bears. He urged modification or elimination of bear shows at dump sites by park personnel and shipment of troublesome bears to outside agencies. [22]

Park management continued to ensure good fishing prospects in the lake and other streams during the 1930s. In October 1929 some 7,000 fingering trout from the State Fish Hatchery at Butte Falls were planted in the lake and streams, making fishing in the lake and Sun Creek exceptionally good during the 1930 season. [23] During the fall of 1931 some 200,000 fingerling rainbow trout and salmon silversides were planted in the lake and some 40,000 in smaller streams in the western and central portions of the park, thus making fishing in Crater Lake, according to Superintendent Solinsky, “superior to any location in the vicinity, including both Diamond Lake and Lake of the Woods.” [24]

Fish planting became one of the responsibilities of the Emergency Conservation Work (ECW) programs at Crater Lake during the 1930s. In 1935-36, for instance, ECW personnel planted more than 100,000 fingerling trout in the lake and some 75,000 fingerlings in park streams. [25] The following year Superintendent Canfield reported that Crater Lake had “strengthened its reputation as being one of the choice fishing spots in the west,” there being frequent reports of limit catches which had been raised to twelve trout. [26]

Forest insect control continued to be a prime focus of Crater Lake resource management efforts during the 1930s. After 1929 the threat of the bark beetle epidemic waned on unprotected forest areas at Crater Lake. Park. management adopted a plan of mopping up all epidemic centers within the park and on national forest lands within a 15-20-mile radius of the park. With the extension of this program the control results on the protected areas improved. This change of program increased the number of trees treated annually from some 3,700 trees before 1929 to an average of 16,800 trees during the early 1930s. Among the areas treated during the early 1930s were Anna Creek., Castle Creek, Sun Creek., and Mount Scott in the park and Sand Creek in Umpqua National Forest. [27]

A new method of pine beetle eradication was introduced in 1932. The method and rationale behind its use were described by Superintendent Solinsky:

This year the so-called solar method of pine beetle eradication was not found completely effective in thick forested areas and on northern exposures, due to extremely cold weather. Under such conditions a method of eradication by burning using an oil spray proved 100 percent effective. It is thought that the pine beetles are well under control and only a small allotment will be required each year to keep them so. [28]

The mountain pine beetle epidemic in the park was declared to be eradicated in November 1933 by Entomologist F.P. Keen of the U.S. Bureau of Entomology. He observed:

That the mountain pine beetle in the pine stands of Crater Lake National Park. was brought completely under control by the work conducted in the spring of 1932 was further verified by the scouting and control work conducted during 1933. While a few scattered infested trees could be found, there was no evidence of concentrated grouping of beetle activity. On most of the park units the beetles are all but exterminated. Therefore for the next few years, only a maintenance control program needs to be considered on Park forests.

A highly dangerous concentration of beetles in the Sun Pass area of the Rogue River National Forest a mile or so from the southeast corner of the Park. still continues as an aggressive epidemic and is a menace to the park in that at any time a migration of beetles back into the park may take place. It is hoped that this infestation can be completely cleaned up next spring.

Keen went on to describe control work during the spring of 1933:

The maintenance program for 1933 called for the treatment of about 5,000 trees at a cost of $4,000. This program was started early in June when spotting crews were placed in the field to mark the infested trees and some treatment at the lower elevations was started by the regular experienced control crews.

Then two of the Emergency Conservation Work camps were established in the Park, one on Anna Creek and the other on Sand Creek and the beetle control work made an important part of their activity. For a time as many as 200 men from the CCC camps were employed in the beetle control work. As a consequence a large area of the Park was thoroughly combed for infestation and a complete clean up secured. Even so only 7,026 infested trees of which 5,794 were lodge pole were found on the 30,750 acres covered. . . . [29]

In 1936 it was evident that white pine blister rust was rapidly approaching the park. It was determined that protection of the Cloudcap area and its homogeneous stand of whitebark pine was imperative. Accordingly the Cloudcap Blister Rust Control Unit was established as a cooperative venture with the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1937. Within three years more than 133,600 alternate host plants (Ribes sp.) were eradicated in a control unit of 3,632 acres. [30]

During 1936 a vegetation type survey of Crater Lake National Park was conducted as an Emergency Conservation Work National Park Service project under the supervision of the Branch of Forestry. Field work was started on May 21 and completed on August 15, and the office work. connected with the survey was done at the Berkeley office of the Branch of Forestry during the winter months. Personnel of the crew consisted of Martin H. Mitchell, Junior Forester Homer W. Marion, Assistant to Technician, and two men from the local Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp. Planimetering of the types was done by Dean F. Schlobohm, Junior Forester.

The vegetation type survey was conducted to meet an ever increasing need for a map showing the composition, extent, and character of the park vegetation. The data was to be used as a basis for:

1. Rating fire hazard and protection planning
2. Planning insect and disease control
3. Determining the proper use and treatment of land for recreation, campground development, wild life, reforestation, erosion control, etc.
4. Augmenting the supply of knowledge concerning the flora and other natural features of the area in question
5. Providing an inventory of forest lands

The ultimate objective of the project was to produce not only a vegetation type map but also a reference map, vegetation type sample plot records, narrative type descriptions, and illustrated herbarium specimens. One of the products of the survey was a condensed summary of vegetation types in the park:



Lake 11,144.40
Barren 1,712.11
Herb–grass and semi-barren herb-grass 3,636.33
Residential 29.56
Chaparral 1,524.36
Weedland 11.99
Douglas fir belt 1,006.14
Ponderosa pine belt 6,014.33
Pine-fire belt 41,128.14
Lodgepole pine-hemlock 73,450.20
Fir belt 17,885.65
White bark pine 587.37
Spruce 14.20

Total 160,333.00 [31]

While some fire protection improvements had been constructed in the park prior to 1930, lack of funds and information limited such endeavors. In 1930 John D. Coffman, Chief of Forestry of the National Park. Service, prepared the first “Report on the Fire Protection Requirements of Crater Lake National Park.” The report, which served as a blueprint for the development of the park fire protection program during the next decade, surveyed fire hazards in the park and included recommendations on the need for fire equipment, a fire detection system, personnel placement, cooperation, training, and hazard reduction measures. Among other recommendations the report urged that the following be constructed to provide adequate protection against fire for park forests and facilities:

Protection telephone lines
Fire protection buildings (fire lookout on Watchman Peak)
Protection road (rim to Mount Scott)
Protection motorways (75.9 miles)
Protection trails (3 miles) [32]

In 1942 Associate Regional Forester Jack B. Dodd prepared a comprehensive “Report on Forest Protection Requirements for Crater Lake National Park.” The report presented an overview of forest protection policies in the park from the time of Coffman’s report until May 1942. The study found that there had been 152 fires in the park during the eleven-year period from 1931 through 1941–110 lightning-caused and 42 man-caused (smoker, 24; camper, 5; debris, 4; and miscellaneous, 9). As part of the campaign to promote fire prevention, efforts had been made to establish strict park regulations regarding fires and to promote general public awareness of the fire threat.

During the 1930s and early 1940s the park engaged in an active fire hazard reduction program using the services of Civilian Conservation Corps personnel. Clean-up to reduce the fire hazard was carried out along all major roads, power and telephone clearings, and some of the motorways. “Cat trails” were cut through the formerly logged Yawkey Tract and efforts to clean up the unburned slash and snags cleft by the clogging operations in the area were conducted to reduce the fire hazard and preserve the vegetative cover of the tract. Two primary fire detection lookouts were located in the park, one on the rim of the crater on the west side of the lake called the Watchman and the other on Mount Scott, a volcanic cone on the east side of the lake several miles distant from the crater rim. During the 1930s two seasonal fire guards were on the forest protection and fire prevention payroll, both of whom were stationed at park headquarters until 1940. In 1941 one remained at the headquarters to handle fire matters in the southern half of the park, while one was stationed at the North Rim Ranger Station. An extensive telephone and radio system was installed and proved useful in fire suppression work. Fire weather stations were maintained at park headquarters, the two lookouts, and Lost Creek Ranger Station during the fire seasons in 1938, and the U.S. Forest Service cooperated by providing weather data. The park purchased enough fire fighting equipment to supply 150 to 175 men. Annual firefighting training schools for park personnel were instituted in the late 1930s, and in 1935 plans were drawn up by the chief ranger outlining the duties of fire protection personnel and providing for the employment of transient labor to supplement the ranger organization, other park personnel, and CCC enrollees in fighting fires on an as-needed basis. In 1937 cooperative agreements were drawn up with the Rogue River and Umpqua national forests and the Klamath Indian Reservation for mutual fire suppression aid. These cooperative agreements were extended indefinitely in 1938. [33]