24 Chapter 6: Administration Under Superintendent William F. Arant: 1902-1916

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


Print this page




CHAPTER SIX: Administration of Crater Lake National Park Under Superintendent William F. Arant: 1902-1916


<< Previous | Table of Contents | Next >>

Active park operations began at Crater Lake National Park soon after passage of the establishing act on May 22, 1902. William F. Arant of Klamath Falls was appointed park superintendent on June 7 (he received official notification of his appointment on October 13) at an annual compensation of $900. In the deficiency appropriation act of July 1, 1902, an allocation of $2,000 was made for the protection and improvement of the park as well as the extension and repair of its roads.

During June 1902 Arant established his first headquarters in the park at Bridge Creek Springs, some six miles from the lake. That month he visited the lake and principal camping places in the park and found large numbers of campers. He reported that no forest fires had been seen, no timber was being cut, and no park property or resources were being destroyed. As a result of conversations with campers and park visitors, Arant observed that there was “a strong sentiment” in “favor of preserving the natural picturesqueness of the reservation” and that all were “generally disposed to protect rather than to destroy.” To facilitate visitation to the lake he had surveyed a new five-mile road along the base of Crater Lake Mountain to the rim of the crater, and department officials had approved his plans. [1]

During his first full year as park superintendent Arant took steps to lay out the new road and enforce the rules and regulations of the park. With the help of a surveyor and other hired labor Arant surveyed and located the road during October 28-November 5, 1902, at a cost of $158. The new road followed the general location of the wagon trail blazed earlier in 1869 by the Sutton party. The completion of the survey coincided with the end of the working season as the snow depth levels in the park ranged between a few inches to nearly four feet at that time.

During the winter and spring of 1902-03 Arant made frequent trips through the park, sometimes in ten to twelve feet of snow, to ensure that the park rules prohibiting hunting and trapping were not violated. Arant again established camp in the park on June 18, 1903, as soon as the snow had disappeared from the lower grounds of the park.

Arant purchased a variety of materials and supplies for the operation of the park and the construction and improvement of the park roads in 1903. These purchases included: 21,816 feet of bridge lumber ($175.80); tools, implements, and building supplies ($111.05); Remington standard typewriter ($90); a boat and lumber for a boathouse ($100); and blasting powder ($300).

On June 20, 1903, Arant, with the help of thirteen men and three teams, commenced improvements on the existing main road through the park and hauling lumber for new bridge structures. Three of the worst hills were eliminated and replaced by “good easy grades,” and a new 50-foot bridge was constructed across Bridge Creek. The road was “otherwise improved” by “cutting out roots, taking out rocks, leveling up, etc.” In addition, the stretch of road in the vicinity of Bridge Creek was improved for a distance of one-fourth mile by “cutting out several short steep hills and a number of very short turns by building a new piece of road” which was “comparatively straight and level.”

On July 16 Arant moved his camp to the head of Anna Creek and began work on the new road to the lake, which had been surveyed the previous November. Before the total park appropriation for fiscal year 1904 was exhausted on August 20 a bridge (104 feet long and 30 feet high) was constructed across Anna Creek and two miles of the new road were completed.

After the park’s funds were exhausted Arant maintained his camp at the head of Anna Creek. This base camp soon became known as Camp Arant. From the camp Arant “took care of the Government property, visited camps of camping parties in the park, prevented trespasses and violations of the rules, etc.” On October 5 he moved his office to his ranch in the vicinity of Klamath Falls, after which he had “a man at the ranch nearest the park, patrolling in the park for the protection of the property and maintenance of the rules.”

In his annual report for 1903 Arant observed that five permits had been granted for driving some 4,000 head of stock through the park. Stockmen were interested in using the park road since it was the only thoroughfare through the Cascades in the region. The permits included:

E.E. Sherwood for cattle to be driven to Klamath Marsh, fifty miles east of the park.
E.R. Hannon for cattle to be driven to Wood River Valley, ten miles south of the park.
Pelton brothers for cattle to Wood River Valley, twelve miles south of the park.
Al Melhase, one permit for 2,000 sheep to summer range in Cascade Forest Reserve and one permit for returning them to winter quarters in Wood River Valley, twelve miles south of the park.

Arant reported that the 1903 tourist season at Crater Lake extended from July 10 to October 1. Some people, however, continued to visit the park after October 1.

As part of his annual report Arant submitted a list of improvements that he considered necessary “to the best interests and management of the park.” These improvements, which would “add very materially to the attractiveness and convenience and better management of the park,” required that an appropriation of $6,695 be made for the park in fiscal year 1905. The list of such projects read:

Improvement of road from south line of park to Anna Creek bridge $400
Improvements at White Horse bridge and grading 250
New road from White Horse to Anna Creek bridge 1,000
Completion of new road from Anna Creek bridge to rim of crater 1,000
Improvement of trail inside crater and cable for same 500
Iron railing on Victor rock 150
For two patrolmen in park 480
Register and house for same 150
Register and case for same at Wizard Island 25
Station house in park 1,000
Barn in park 300
Tool house in park 75
Salary of superintendent 1,000
Allowance for additional horse 365

Total $6,695 [2]

In his annual report for 1904 Arant observed that he continued to maintain a patrol in the park from mid-October to November 18, 1903, for the protection of government property and enforcement of park regulations. On the latter date the snow became so deep “that any kind of travel or existence in the park was entirely impracticable.” After closing the work for the season Arant continued to make occasional trips “to and in the vicinity of the park” during the winter months. On June 1, 1904, the snow was solid enough to walk on so Arant made a trip “from the south line to the central portion of the park.” He found the snow depths to be between four to twelve feet along the roads and approximately fifteen to eighteen feet at the lake and in the higher elevations.

On July 6, the snow having receded from the lower lands of the park, Arant established his “usual first camping place at Bridge Creek Springs, on the south slope of the mountain.” With five men and two teams he began improvements on the road from the south line of the park to the head of Anna Creek as well as on the road at Whitehorse that led from western Oregon to Crater Lake.

From mid-August until the end of October Arant supervised construction of the new road to the lake, using eight men and two teams. By the close of the working season the road had been completed to within one mile of the lake. Ten bridges, ranging in length from 16 to 104 feet, were built across the streams that descended from the springs at the base of Crater Lake Mountain.

At the beginning of the 1904 summer season Arant found all park property, including tools, implements, lumber, and the boat “to be in a good state of preservation and ready for use.” It was Arant’s belief that this was the first time a boat had survived a winter at Crater Lake, although the boathouse, except for the foundation, had been swept away.

During 1904 no applications were made for driving stock through the park. One small herd of cattle had been found trespassing on park lands, however, and its removal was required immediately. The only stock that had passed through the park was that associated with visitors to the park. While there was no park visitor register Arant estimated the number of visitors during July-September to be 1,200 to 1,500. The summer season having been dry, several forest fires had started but were extinguished before any significant damage was done to the timber or grass lands.

Since Congress had appropriated only $3,000 for the park during fiscal year 1905, Arant reported in September 1904 that this “amount was entirely inadequate to a good administration of the affairs of the park, and entirely insufficient for making anything like the necessary improvements during one season.” Accordingly, he again prepared a list of projects, totaling $7,918, that should be carried out in 1906 to enhance the attractiveness of the park and promote better management of its resources.

Three of these budget requests were highlighted by Arant in his annual report. These were the items relating to building a house and barn in the park and making provision for assistance in patrolling the park during the visitation season. Relative to the house and barn he noted that while preparing his annual report there had been

for the past forty-eight hours, and is at the present time, a heavy, cold rain mixed with snow falling, and accompanied by strong south wind, making it most disagreeable living in tents, and also making it desperately uncomfortable for the horses and teams kept for the work in the park, to say nothing of the danger of their contracting pneumonia or other disease caused by the great exposure to the storm and cold.

I can not refrain from again saying that I not only recommend, but I earnestly urge upon Congress the great importance of making sufficient appropriation to provide against this unreasonable condition.

Concerning the need for patrol assistance, he observed:

Owing to the fact that during the summer months the entire time of the superintendent is required in superintending the improvements and other affairs of the park, as there is danger at any time of destructive fires breaking out–and these fires do start every summer- -and as there is more or less of trespassing in stock grazing upon the park lands, and as it is very difficult, almost impossible, to restrain some people from cutting green timber in the park, it is deemed absolutely necessary that there should be at least two patrolmen in the park from the 15th of June to the 15th of October, 1905, to attend to those matters above specified. Sixty dollars per month each would be reasonable compensation for such services . . . . [3]

The story of operations at Crater Lake National Park continued much the same in fiscal year 1905. During the winter of 1904-05 several steps were taken to protect government property against the elements. Flooring from all the bridges was removed to allow the snow to fall through the bridge frames to the ground, thus preventing the bridges from being broken down by the snow. All tools and implements were hauled “to a safe place 14 miles from the park and securely housed for the winter.”

A post office was established at the head of Anna Creek when the summer season opened on July 1, 1905. This was done at the request of the Department of the Interior to accommodate the needs of visitors and campers in the park.

On August 19 the road from the head of Anna Creek to the rim of the lake was completed. The road was described as “a comfortable one to travel over, being of easy grade, the steepest of which is 10 percent, smooth and as straight as it was practicable to make it.” After its completion there was “very little, if any, travel over the old road to the lake.” [4]

Work on a new road from Whitehorse to Anna Creek Bridge was commenced in mid-August. Only one place on this road had as steep a grade as ten percent, while parts of the old road over the steep summit which the road would replace had grades of more than fifteen percent.

The dry summer season of 1905 resulted in a large number of “almost uncontrollable forest fires” in the park. The fires, all of which were started by lightening strikes, were prevented from causing considerable damage by daytime as well as nighttime fire fighting efforts. The worst day for fires occurred on July 20 when an electrical storm triggered eight fires within the space of twenty minutes.

Arant estimated that 1,200-1,400 persons visited the park between July 1 and October 1, 1905. Parties of visitors and campers continued to enter the park through the early part of October.

Pursuant to the rules and regulations of the park fishing in Crater Lake was prohibited by Arant until July 1905. At that time an open season was created by a rule formulated by the superintendent:

Fishing with hook and line only is allowed in Crater Lake from July 1st to September 30th of each year, the catch of each fisherman being limited to five fish in any one day. Fishing in all other waters of the reserve is allowed under the regulations prescribed by the State laws.

In his annual report for 1905 Arant echoed his earlier complaints concerning inadequate appropriations for the park. Only $3,000 had been appropriated for fiscal year 1906–a sum which Arant characterized as being “inadequate to a good administration, and wholly insufficient for making the improvements that should be made during any one year.” Again submitting itemized estimates to justify appropriations for the park in excess of $7,000, Arant stated:

It should be borne in mind that the territory embraced within the boundaries of the Crater Lake National Park, owing to its high and mountainous character, and its distance from the settled valleys and the consequent lack of any improvements prior to its being made a national park, and in view of the very small appropriations which have been made for its protection and improvement, is still in a very primitive condition, and that if more liberal appropriations were made in the beginning, to the end that we might be able to make the most absolutely necessary improvements, then smaller appropriations would be sufficient to make the necessary repairs and maintain a good administration of the affairs of the reserve. [5]

As winter weather set in during late October 1905 Arant moved his camp to a ranch at the foot of Crater Lake Mountain referred to as the “Boothby place.” From there he continued to patrol the park until November 18 when the depth of the snow became so deep that travel was impossible. Thereafter, he moved to his winter quarters at his ranch near Klamath Falls, from which he made periodic visits to the park as weather conditions permitted.

On July 1, 1906, a regular mail service was established between Fort Klamath and Crater Lake. The first trip with the mail was made on July 4 “with great difficulty on account of the snow remaining yet deep in places and there being a great many fallen trees and logs in the road.”

Construction began on the park office and residence on July 24 and was virtually completed by October 1. By the latter date the superintendent and his family had moved into the residence and were “quite comfortably situated, as compared with the very long term they have had camping while superintending the affairs of the park.”

In his annual report for 1906 Arant estimated that park visitation for the season was between 1,600 and 1,800. The most heavily visited spot in the park was Victor Rock, a spot that posed problems for visitor safety. In this regard Arant stated:

A short distance inside the crater, 8 or 10 rods below the rim, there is a high promontory of rock, called Victor Rock, where nearly all visitors go for a good view of the lake and surrounding country. At the summit of this rock and where many people congregate it is rough and craggy and some parts of it slope or incline toward the lake. Below this summit and toward the lake the walls are vertical–in fact it hangs over for almost 1,000 feet above the water. This is one of the most prominent and probably most frequented points on the crater rim, and owing to the character of this rock, or promontory of rock, there is more or less danger of accident or even loss of life, and as a protection against danger to those who congregate at this point there should be a strong iron railing placed along the outer edge of this rock. . . .

In October 1906 Arant described the condition of the four roads and three trails in the park. The road from the south boundary of the park to the Crater Lake post office at Anna Spring was in “fairly good condition for travel” as was the road from the post office to the rim of the lake. Both roads needed widening and smoothing out, and some bridges required extensive repairs. The old road to the rim of the lake was in poor condition, but it was “very little traveled.” When the new road to Whitehorse was completed, there would be no reason for its maintenance. The road from the west line of the reserve toward the crater was not in good condition and required substantial and permanent improvements. Arant observed further in regard to the matter of road improvements :

. . . It is proper to state that in the spring of each year the roads are found to be washed out in many places, and deep ruts are cut by the heavy rains and waters of the melting snows and obstructed by fallen trees, logs, stones, and brush, and the repairing alone requires a considerable amount of labor. In many places the roads are in bad condition by being partially overgrown by brush, which should be cut away and the roads otherwise improved.

Of the three principal trails in the park the one leading from the rim of the crater down to the water’s edge was the most heavily used. The trail was

very steep! crooked, and in many places dangerous, so much so that only the stronger individuals are able to make the descent and ascent, and many are thus deprived of the pleasures of the trip to the water. A trip down into the crater to the lake is one of the chief attractions of a visit to the park, and it is urgently necessary that better facilities for making this trip be provided.

A climb down and up over this trail when it is at its best is as hard a climb as people are able to make, but nearly all visitors and tourists in the park are disappointed if they do not make this trip; and it will require a considerable amount of work and expense to put it in only fairly good and safe condition. It should be widened out and straightened, and in many places steps should be cut in the stone and hard earth, and a small, strong cable should be stretched along the trail on the lower side to make it safe and to assist in climbing down and up the crater wall. . . .

The other two trails, one leading along the rim of the crater and the other to Bybee Creek, were little used but required improvements. [6]

Concession visitor services were provided at Crater Lake for the first time in 1907 as a result of efforts initiated by Steel. In April he wrote of his plans in Steel Points:

For many years we have tried to induce some one to establish hotels and other accommodations at Crater Lake, but without success. When a National park was created renewed efforts were put forth to accomplish the purpose, but with no better results. While in Washington City recently, the matter was taken up with the Secretary of the Interior, and a plan outlined to accomplish the end in view. These plans will require the entire time and attention of some one whose heart is in the work. This is exactly what we have been endeavoring to avoid, but many friends have urged us to take it up, and after mature deliberation we have decided to do so, relying implicitly on the interest and loyalty of the commercial bodies and citizens generally of Southern Oregon for support.

As soon as final authority is received from the Government, steps will be taken to form a corporation, and an immediate canvas will be made for stock subscriptions. With that end in view we will visit Jackson, Josephine and Klamath Counties, and will not stop with the getting of stock subscriptions, but will personally see that the work in the park is done in a creditable manner. What is accomplished in the way of improvements will depend entirely on the amount of money realized by the sale of stock. One thing is certain. Permanent camps must be established this year, and they must be comfortable and clean. Food must be well cooked and well served, and rowboats must be placed on the lake. During the present season plans must be matured for improvements next year, and the money must be in sight to meet expenses. At least one building must be constructed this year to house the property in Winter, and also a shelter for the boats. Water must be brought to the camp at once, and in permanent form. Next year at least one first-class naphtha launch must be placed on the lake, and the construction of buildings must be actively under headway. Within a very few years railroads will be in the vicinity of the park, and facilities for the accommodation of guests will be taxed to their utmost capacity, and Crater Lake will divide honors with Yellowstone and Yosemite for tourist trade. [7]

After considerable lobbying by Steel the Department of the Interior authorized and licensed him to personally conduct camping parties from the railroad terminus at Klamath Falls to various tent camps within the park from May 1 to November 30, 1907, using wagons, carriages, or other suitable conveyances. He was also permitted to maintain permanent camps on sites designated by the park superintendent. [8]

On May 22, 1907, articles of incorporation of the Crater Lake Company were filed with the Oregon Secretary of State. Its incorporators were Steel (president and principal owner), who had recently closed his real estate business in Portland, Charles L. Parrish, and Lionel Webster. This company, holding 250,000 shares of stock, acquired the rights granted by the Department of the Interior to Steel, the privileges to extend for five years. Other privileges in the future were expected to include the construction and maintenance of hotels and pleasure resorts, placement of boats on the lake, commencement of stage lines to the park, and sale of assorted merchandise.

By the end of July 1907 a tent city had been established by Steel on the rim of Crater Lake, accommodating fifty people. At this camp visitors could obtain meals and feed for their horses. A site for the company s future hotel was chosen “on the divide over which the road from Klamath reaches the lake’s brim.” A spring “on the mountain side above” would furnish water for the hotel. Plans were formulated by the company to build “an elevator down the precipice leading to the water’s edge, so that tourists can avoid taking the 1,500-foot climb from the water to the hotel.”

By August some thirty tourists were visiting the lake daily and taking their meals at Steel’s camp, but sleeping accommodations were so limited that most of them were unable to spend the night. As a result of the limited services, however, visitation increased to 2,600 for the season, the highest recorded number to date.

Arant also made improvements in the park during 1907 to enhance the visitors’ experiences. The trail leading to the water’s edge was repaired, and trails to Glacier Peak and Mount Scott were planned, with the latter being opened before the end of the summer. [9]

Congressional appropriations for Crater Lake had ranged between $2,000 and $3,000 per year from 1902 to 1907, thus hampering park development and effective administration of the reservation’s resources. In 1908, however, the park received an appropriation of $7,315, a figure close to the annual requests Arant had been submitting for several years. With these funds the superintendent was able to initiate a number of park improvements designed to enhance the quality of the visitors’ experiences in the park and contribute to more effective management of the reservation.

Arant used the increased appropriation to hire H.E. Momyer of Klamath Falls as the first seasonal park ranger in August 1907. Momyer would work as a seasonal ranger for the next eight summers until 1915 when he received appointment as the first permanent ranger in the park.

The increased appropriation enabled Arant to make some of the improvements in the park that he had been advocating for several years. These projects included installation of a hydraulic ram for pumping water to the superintendent’s office and residence and digging a ditch to carry off the waste water from the ram for irrigating the surrounding grounds. Two temporary structures were erected for the use of workmen, some twenty miles of roads and trails were improved, the barn, which had been damaged by wind or lightning, was repaired, and two miles of fence were constructed to enclose pasture and meadow lands. The roofs of the park buildings were renovated with three-fourths pitch in order that snow could slide off rather than pile up and crush them. This roof innovation was important in that average annual snow depth levels had been found to reach 6-8 feet at the south boundary of the park and 12-20 feet in the vicinity of Anna Spring.

In May 1908 Superintendent Arant was given direct authority to grant or refuse permission to drive loose stock through the park. Prior to this time permits had to be granted by the Secretary of the Interior, thus “causing considerable inconvenience and sometimes delay to the stockmen, and unavoidable annoyance to the superintendent of the park.” While three permits were issued in 1908, only one was utilized by the permittee–that being Henry Gordon who drove a herd of 250 head through the park in May en route to Fort Klamath. [10]

While the condition of Crater Lake National Park left much to be desired in the view of Superintendent Arant, the improvements that he had completed during the first six years of the park’s existence made it an increasingly popular place to visit. In 1908, for instance, he estimated that park visitation, including both campers and passing sightseers, for the tourist season was 5,275–approximately double the total of the previous year.

In 1908 Superintendent Arant indicated his concern that summer resort homes might soon be built upon private inholdings (twelve patented land entries totaling 1,914.22 acres) in the park. This would increase the difficulties of administration and add to the aggregate sum which the government would eventually have to pay the owners. Hence he secured the support of department officials in the effort to purchase such claims through condemnation proceedings.

During the winter of 1908-09 a number of park buildings were damaged by the heavy snows. In May and June Arant made his temporary quarters at Fort Klamath, seventeen miles from park headquarters, while supervising repairs of the structures. Using “heavier and stronger timbers, steeper roofs, and improved workmanship” Arant believed that “the collapsing of the roofs in winter” could be avoided in the future. As a result of his efforts, Arant informed his superiors that “all improvements were in as good shape as the limited appropriations would permit.”

Despite the budget limitations of the park Crater Lake continued to be a popular spot for the visiting public. In 1909, for instance, some 4,171 persons (June–163; July–774; August–2,350; September–984) had signed the park visitation book, and Arant estimated that the total number of visitors was 5,000. Visitor accommodations continued to be provided by the Crater Lake Company under the direction of Alfred L. Parkhurst of Portland, who had become president and general manager of the firm after purchasing all of Steel’s stock. His first action as president was to pursue construction of a stone lodge on the rim of the lake, its foundation being completed that year. The company operated two camps–Camp Arant near Anna Spring (opened on July 5), which consisted of white tents and eating facilities, and Camp Crater on the rim near the site of the future hotel (opened on July 20), which consisted of floored tents heated by oil stoves. Some 544 persons (419 at Camp Arant and 125 at Camp Crater) were accommodated in these camps during the summer, most of whom camped for only one or two nights.

At the request of Department of the Interior officials the Geological Survey conducted a topographic resurvey of the park in 1908-09. The purpose of the resurvey was to remonument certain portions of the boundary and secure an accurate administrative map. [11]

During 1909 a movement commenced in Klamath County to force Arant out as superintendent. One of Arant’s neighbors had had the superintendent’s son arrested for allegedly stealing a calf. Arant took up his son s cause in court, thus culminating in a dismissal of charges. As a result of this “neighborhood row,” several men in the vicinity who wished to become park superintendent began waging a publicity campaign against him. Steel, an early opponent of Arant who had become a strong supporter of the superintendent, intervened with Oregon Senator Jonathan Bourne and the effort to oust Arant died. [12]

During the years 1910-12 park operations continued much as they had in earlier years. In May Arant generally made his first trip to the park from his winter quarters in Klamath Falls. May and June were devoted to repairs and improvements to park structures, roads, and trails. These activities included placing new flooring on bridges, repairing fences (Arant recommended in 1911 that the fences be laid on their side in the fall to prevent their destruction), clearing roads and trails of fallen logs, trees, and debris, and repairing the exterior and interior wood framing of park buildings. Each winter the roofs of many of the buildings would collapse from the heavy snow, and each spring Arant would replace the roofs with heavy timbers and make their pitch steeper. The tourist season extended from about July 1 to early October, and Arant generally completed operations to close the park in November before leaving for his winter quarters.

With only one temporary park ranger on duty from July 1 to September 30 Arant found it difficult “to maintain a sufficient guard over the park.” Accordingly, Arant recommended in 1910 that the park should have one permanent year-round park ranger and two temporary rangers on duty from July 1 to September 30. That same year he also recommended that at least one company of soldiers be detailed to duty in the park so that outposts could be established “along the lines of the reserve in the more remote sections, the men to act as scouts, game wardens, and fire guards and to do general ranger duty.”

In 1911 and 1912 Arant proposed other plans for the proper administration and protection of the park. He was especially concerned that there be an adequate force to protect park wildlife against poachers and cope with fires when they broke out. According to his revised proposals there should be one permanent year-round park ranger and five temporary rangers on duty from July 1 to September 30. Five ranger stations should be built, and all should be connected to each other and to the superintendent’s headquarters by telephone.

Despite Arant’s concerns, however, there were no arrests or officially reported violations of park regulations during the 1910-12 period. In 1910, for instance, Arant observed that the regulations were “seldom intentionally violated,” but he noted that it was “difficult to prevent the cutting of the bushes and boughs for beds about the camping places, and to keep persons from painting, carving, and writing names and other things upon rocks, trees, banisters, or boats or other objects.” In 1911, however, one man was “ejected from the park with the admonition not to return without permission from the Secretary of the Interior or the superintendent of the park.”

Enforcement of the regulations against carrying firearms through the park was a continuing problem as the road through the park was the only one between the settlements located on the west side of the park and the hunting grounds of the Cascade Mountains on the other. The guns were taken at the superintendent’s office, checked, and returned upon presentation of a coupon when the visitor was ready to leave the park. As there were sometimes as many as fifty guns in his office, Arant requisitioned gun seals in 1911.

During the years 1910-12 there were no serious forest fires in the park. Numerous fires in the surrounding forests, however, often threatened the park forest lands, especially during periods of dry weather. These fires, as well as the fact that smoke from them made it impossible to obtain good views of the lake, hampered park visitation in 1910 and 1911. During those same years the park itself had a number of small fires, some of which were caused by lightning while a significant number resulted from the carelessness of park visitors.

To provide for more effective park administration and improve the park’s ability to respond to fires a telephone system was installed in 1910. The service was extended from Fort Klamath to the superintendent’s headquarters by the Klamath Telegraph and Telephone Company. This service was initiated pursuant to a special use permit granted to the company on April 5, 1909. The agreement granted the Klamath Falls-based company the right to construct, use, operate, and maintain a commercial telephone line, approximately eight miles in length, across the park, entering the reservation 3-3/4 miles west of its southeastern corner, thence along the road running from Fort Klamath and connecting with its office in Klamath Falls. The permit provided that the company would transmit free of charge over its lines all messages of the government coming into or going out of the park or from one part of the park to the other. The telephone line was to be operated at least 100 days per year. A private line was extended from the park headquarters to the camp at the rim of the lake by the Crater Lake Company. [13]

The Crater Lake Company continued to operate its concessions (a list of authorized rates for 1912 may be seen below) in the park during 1910-12 under its five-year lease. As revised the company s charter provided for two concessions, one for maintaining the two permanent camps and operating gasoline launches and rowboats on the lake and the other for transporting passengers through the park in automobiles. A license fee of $10 was charged on each of the three automobiles (one Locomobile, 40-horsepower; one Stoddard Dayton , 45-horsepower; and one Studebaker, 40-horsepower) used in the transportation. By 1912 the company was operating five automobiles, and on September 16 of that year Arant announced that 101 persons had already taken advantage of those services.

Authorized rates, Crater Lake Co. [1912]
[Address Crater Lake, Oreg., during tourist season,
Portland, Oreg., remainder of the year.]
Board and lodging, per day $3.25
Single meals at Crater Lake and Camp Arant .75
Beds 1.00
Row boats:
      Per hour .50
      Per day 2.50
Launch ride around the lake 2.50
Launch charter, per hour 5.00
Trip to Wizard Island 1.00

The two camps operated by the company continued to attract increasing numbers of tourists during 1910-12. The camps came to be referred to as “camp hotels” since sleeping accommodations were provided in floored tents. By 1911 guests at Camp Crater were provided meals in a temporary wooden 30- by 40-foot building, while the company had under construction the stone and concrete hotel which Steel had interested Parkhurst in building. Less elaborate “camp hotel” facilities were in operation at Camp Arant by 1911. The total number of guests at the “camp hotels” more than doubled from 716 in 1910 to 1,464 in 1912.

Despite the growing number of tourists who were utilizing its concession facilities the Crater Lake Company was facing financial and contractual problems by September 1911. At the National Park Conference held in Yellowstone that month Steel revealed his dreams for the development of Crater Lake and the difficulties encountered by the Crater Lake Company in achieving those aims. Among his comments were:

I will tell you, as briefly as I can, the experience of our company in Crater Lake Park. I have been trying to develop this proposition for 27 years. . . . I was so green, so simple-minded, that I thought the United States Government would go ahead and develop the proposition. In this I found I was mistaken, so had to go to work again.

All the money I have is in this park, and if I had more it would go there, too. This is my life’s work, and I propose to see it through. I want a hotel as magnificent as this one; I want a road entirely around the lake that will cost $500,000, and I want other roads and trails that will cost as much more. We are now building a cut-stone hotel on the rim of the lake from the veranda of which you will be able to look down upon the waters 1,000 feet below. We have a 5-year lease and have come to the end of our string for money, if developments are to be made commensurate with the necessities of the proposition. We can not float bonds or otherwise borrow sufficient funds on a lease of that character. We want to do our part, and we want the Government to help us. All we ask is a 20-year lease. Give us that, and we can secure funds to carry on the work as it should be. Limit us on the lease and you limit the development. We must have a 20-year lease or we will not be ready to receive and properly care for the great number of tourists that will come to us in two or three or four years, with transcontinental railroads operating within 15 miles. If necessary for the good of the cause, I will come to Washington and stay there through the winter to aid in getting money from Congress to build our roads. We want to build another hotel on the easterly side of the lake to care for visitors who will come to us on the completion of the Southern Pacific and Oregon Trunk in two years, to say nothing of the San Francisco Fair in 1915, when we will simply be swamped with tourists.

We can do all these things better as a single corporation than they can be done by a lot of little ones. We want to provide every facility for the accommodation of the poor man and his family as well as the rich, and if you will give us an opportunity we will do it. We have made good in the past, and we will make good in the future. However, we must have a monopoly for the protection of the men who supply the money and for the protection of the public as well. We will meet the department more than halfway in providing rates, rules, and regulations acceptable to the public and will accept the slightest suggestion from it as an order and always hasten to obey it. If you are going to divide the concessions, that practically means that we must retire, for it will lead to unnecessary jealousies and jangling among concessioners that must of necessity interfere with perfect service. In these matters I believe I express the sentiments of every concessioner in every park in the United States. [14]

The complaints by Steel concerning the plight of park concessions led to changes in the contractual arrangements between the Crater Lake Company and the Department of the Interior in 1912. The department granted a twenty-year lease of two parcels of park property to the company. The lease, which took effect on June 1 but was not formally approved until August 6, granted the two tracts of land to the company along with the rights of operating park concessions and visitor services and facilities. The lease authorized

the construction, maintenance, and operation of hotels, inns, lunch stations, and buildings, for use as barns, etc. , general stores for handling tourists’ supplies, hire of rowboats on Crater Lake, and operation of power boats and gasoline launches thereon, for accommodation of tourists, with use of land embraced in the following sites:

Crater Lake Lodge Tract 43.26
Wineglass Tract 11.83

at an annual charge of $2 per acre $110.18

Plans were to be drawn up to build a second lodge on the Wineglass tract. By terms of the lease the company was permitted to lay water and sewer pipes to and from its buildings and use water for generating electricity for its facilities in the park. All construction was to be carried out under plans approved by the Secretary of the Interior, and in consideration of such privileges the company agreed to pay, in addition to the $2 per acre per year rental, a sum per annum considered just and reasonable by the Secretary of the Interior. [15]

In 1912 two other concession contracts were negotiated by the department for visitor services at Crater Lake. Concerned about charges that it had given the Crater Lake Company a monopoly over concessions in the park, the department contracted with the Klamath Development Company to provide additional transportation services. Using six automobiles (2 Buick Models 17, 40-horsepower, 5-passenger; Buick Model 16, 40-horsepower, 4-passenger; Buick Model 19, 24-horsepower, 5-passenger; Great Smith, 36-horsepower, 5-passenger; E.M. F., 36-horsepower, 5-passenger) the company carried 88 persons that year. That same year J.W. Stephenson, a photographer for the Oregon Art Company in Lakeview, was granted a permit to “carry on the business of photography, including the selling of views and postal cards” in the park. The permit included the right to “occupy such quantity of land” in the park “not to exceed one-half acre, at such point as may be designated by the Superintendent of the Reservation.”

Park visitation remained at relatively high levels during 1910-12. The number of registered visitors was 3,746 in 1910 and 3,946 in 1911, although Arant estimated that the totals for those years were 5,000 and 4,500 respectively. Perhaps the most distinguished visitor to the park during this period was the writer Jack London in August 1911. The number of registered visitors increased to 5,235 in 1912–June, 27; July, 904; August, 2,504; September, 1,475; and October, 325.

By the early 1910s the driving of livestock through the park was becoming a thing of the past. In 1910 and 1911 one herd of cattle was driven through the park each year by permit. The first of these was driven from western Oregon to the summer range east of the Cascades over the Rogue River and Fort Klamath wagon road, while the second was driven by J.E. Pelton & Co. to the Wood River Valley some ten miles south of the park.

The condition of the park roads and trails continued to be an issue of concern to Arant during the early 1910s. There were three wagon roads in the park: one ran from the south boundary of the park to the superintendent’s headquarters at Anna Spring, 8 miles; one connected the superintendent’s headquarters to the crater rim just west of Garfield Peak, 5 miles; and one stretched from the headquarters to the western boundary of the park, 7 miles. The first two named roads, which had been built by the military troops at Fort Klamath in the 1860s, were, according to Arant, “simply tracks little wider than a wagon, cut through the trees and bushes.” Use of the narrow roads had made them “become veritable gutters the width of a wagon and 1 or 2 feet deep,” making it ”very difficult for teams to pass.” While the roads were widened in places, the trees, logs, and bushes were “too close to the road to permit a team to turn out of the narrow track.” The road to the rim, especially the mile nearest the lake, was, according to other observers, “exceedingly torturous and steep, some of the grades being nearly 30 per cent.”

While the roads needed widening and straightening, according to Arant, a more immediate problem was the dusty conditions resulting from their use. The soil which formed “the surface of these roads” was composed “of lava or volcanic formation,” and vehicles quickly “cut the surface,” converting “it into a very fine and deep dust.” The most disagreeable feature of park travel was, according to the superintendent, the “very dusty condition of the roads.” To solve this problem Arant continued to recommend that three road sprinklers be purchased and that tanks be erected at suitable places to supply water for them. The sprinkler system would not only keep the dust down but also eliminate continuous maintenance as ”they would incline to fill up and become more level instead of being cut deeper and deeper by the wheels of vehicles passed over them.”

The four trails in the park, except for the one that ran some 3,580 feet from the rim of the crater to the edge of the lake, were, according to Arant, “little more than mere horse tracks.” The trails had been developed primarily for the use of rangers in fighting forest fires. One trail extended from the wagon road three miles south of the lake to Garfield Peak, Applegate Peak, Sun Creek, Sand Creek, the Pinnacles, and Mount Scott, in the eastern portion of the park, a distance of ten miles. Another trail ran from the superintendent’s headquarters to Union Peak in the western portion of the park, a distance of five miles. A third trail passed from the superintendent’s headquarters to Bybee Creek and Bybee Prairie in the northwest portion of the park. The trail to the water’s edge was relocated in 1910 and 1911 to provide a broad and smooth trail having “easy and safe” grades that would be less liable to washouts and damage as a result of rain and melting snow.

A new comprehensive system of park roads was surveyed and located under the direction of Major J.J. Morrow of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1910-11. [16]Funds for the road system had been procured as a result of lobbying efforts by Steel and legislation sponsored by Senator Jonathan Bourne. The proposed road system, the estimated cost of which was $700,000, consisted of the following: one from the south boundary of the park to the park headquarters, a distance of eight miles; one from the west line to the park headquarters, a distance of seven miles; one from the park headquarters to the lake, a distance of five miles; one from the east boundary of the park via Sand and Wheeler creeks by way of the Pinnacles to the rim of the lake south of Mount Scott, a distance of nine miles; and one from the east boundary of the park north of Mount Scott via Cascade Springs to the rim of the crater where the Crater Lake Company was building its hotel. In addition, a proposed road completely encircling the lake was surveyed. This 35-mile drive, most of which would be “immediately upon the rim of the crater,” would be, according to Arant, “beyond question one of the grandest scenic roads in the world.” An appropriation of $50,000 for the construction of park roads in 1912 enabled Arant to begin planning for these roads! the most important being those from the west and south since they were the most heavily used routes.

There were sixteen bridges and culverts, ranging in length from 16 to 104 feet, on park roads by 1910. All of the bridges were constructed of wood and had not been painted, thus requiring replacement. Arant recommended that the larger bridges be replaced with steel arches and concrete abutments.

While the preliminary planning for the new park road system was underway, Superintendent Arant turned his attention to another problem facing the park–wildlife protection. As early as 1908 he had observed that wildlife was increasing in the park and had made recommendations for greater protection of game animals. He noted:

The number of valuable game animals appears to be increasing. Deer and black bears, lynx and coyotes were plentiful during the past summer, and panthers were seen in small numbers. There have been no depredations by these predatory animals. Of the smaller game and birds, there are squirrels, chipmunks, pine martins, fishers, grouse, timber pheasants, oriole, black-headed jay, camp robber or Rocky Mountain jay, and the snowbird. Broods of young ducks have been observed upon Crater Lake, also flocks of wild ducks resting from their migratory flights, but it is thought the elevation of the lake, 6,177 feet above sea level, gives a climate too cold for the natural habitat of wild waterfowl. When the snow falls, all game animals, with possibly the exception of the black bear and small fur-bearing animals, as well as all birds, migrate to a lower and warmer climate. In view of the fact that no wintering grounds are now available in the park, the superintendent recommends the extension of the park boundaries to include a lower section of the country on the slope of the Cascade Mountains, to afford the necessary protection to game.

In 1911 Arant proposed that a feeding ground be established for bears during the summer. He predicated his recommendations on the belief that by feeding and protecting the bears they would “soon become tamer and more numerous.”

By 1912 Arant had come to the conclusion that a game preserve should be established on the north and west sides of the park in the surrounding Cascade National Forest. His basis for this proposal was:

There is not a great variety of game animals or birds in the park. Black and brown bears, some smaller fur-bearing animals, such as the pine marten, the fisher, and several varieties of squirrels, including the fine silver gray, comprise the principal valuable game animals of the reserve. There are a good many blacktail deer in the park in the summer, but they, as well as the other animals and the birds, are compelled to migrate to lower and warmer climate during the winter season . . . .

For the protection of the game which make their home in the park in the summer months–more especially the deer and the birds–I would recommend the creation of a game preserve adjoining the park on the north and the west; by this means they would have the same protection in the winter as in the summer when they stay in the mountains included in the park.

As has been said, a national park should not be made a game preserve to set up standing, living targets on its borders, nor should it be used to tame the deer so they will become the easy prey of the deer skinner when the deep snow compels them to go down and outside of the park in order to live through the winter. . . .

The area embraced within the proposed lines lies wholly, or almost wholly, in the Crater National Forest, extends well down on the western and lower slopes of the mountains and hills, where the snowfall of the winter is light, and would make an ideal wintering ground for the deer and other animals and birds of the park and, so far as is known by the superintendent, there are no settlers nor private holdings within its boundaries.

Combined with this proposal was Arant’s recommendation to exterminate certain predatory animals in the park. The four species that Arant targeted were panthers or cougars, bobcats or lynx, gray or timber wolves, and coyotes. He estimated that these animals killed ten deer for every one killed by hunters. When the deer were driven to lower elevations by winter weather these animals would follow them and “prey upon them.”

Arant also desired to promote fishing in the park. According to the superintendent, there were no fish in any waters of the park except for the lake and lower Anna Creek below the falls. The lake was well-stocked with rainbow trout, A.L. Parkhurst of the Crater Lake Company having planted 50,000 fry in 1910. The fish that were caught were usually from 14 to 20 inches in length, although some were as long as 24 to 26 inches and weighing 6 to 7 pounds. Arant recommended that small brown crawfish be planted in the lake to serve as fish food. Lower Anna Creek had a few Dolly Varden trout, and to enhance fishing in the park, Arant wished to stock upper Anna, Sand, Wheeler, and Castle creeks with mountain trout or eastern brook trout.

With the growth of park visitation safety became a major issue confronting Superintendent Arant by the early 1910s. As a result “of the caution exercised in regard to the quality, condition, and the management of all automobiles and other conveyances used upon the roads, and all launches and other boats upon the lake,” Arant was able to report that there were no accidents in the park during the tourist seasons of 1910-12. However, a tragic death occurred in January 1911 when B.B. Bakowski, a photographer, lost his life after hiking to the lake amid snow depths of 12 to 15 feet and subzero temperatures. His death caused Arant to recommend that all travel in the park be prohibited from December 1 to June 1 each year unless written permission was granted by the superintendent.

Based on a report prepared by Special Inspector E.A. Key for the Secretary of the Interior in September 1910, Arant strongly recommended in both 1911 and 1912 that measures be taken to increase park water power generation and to construct a small electric power plant at the park headquarters. To increase the power that operated the hydraulic ram for raising the water to the superintendent’s office and residence and adjacent grounds, he proposed that a dam be erected below the large spring at the head of Anna Creek. A small electric plant could be erected at the dam to furnish light for the buildings and grounds at the headquarters.

Regulations were drawn up on November 15, 1910, to govern the admission of automobiles into the park for the 1911 tourist season (a copy of these regulations may be seen in Appendix A). The regulations provided that no automobile would be permitted in the park unless the owner secured a written permit–the fee being $1 for a single round trip and $5 for a seasonal pass. The regulations specified speed limits and other safety precautions to handle the increasing travel on park roads.

During 1911 and 1912 the park attempted to enforce these regulations in a diligent manner. In the first year 268 single round trip permits and three seasonal passes were issued. The following year 430 single round trip permits were issued. [17]

As Arant’s superintendency drew to a close Crater Lake National Park attracted increasing attention as a result of publicity in national periodicals and Department of the Interior publications. In an article published in the June 1912 issue of NationalGeographic Crater Lake was described as being “unsurpassed in the gorgeousness and grandeur of its scenery, unrivaled in its location on the summit of a mountain 7,000 feet above sea-level, and unparalleled in its geologic history.” [18]

In 1912 the Department of the Interior published two booklets on Crater Lake that enhanced public awareness of its scenery and geological significance. A 24-page booklet entitled Geological History of Crater Lake: Crater Lake National Park was prepared for sale (10 cents) by the U.S. Government Printing Office. Written by J.S. Diller of the U.S. Geological Survey the publication discussed the geological origins of the lake, its discovery and exploration, and its scenic grandeur. [19]

In 1912 the Department of the Interior began issuing annual publications on general information regarding the national parks. The pamphlets for Crater Lake contained information that was useful for park visitors, including data on transportation, hotels, camps, points of interest, maps, literature, and park regulations. [20]

While the brochure described accessibility to the park in generally favorable terms, the problems facing visitors in reaching the park were considerably more difficult. In December 1911 J.J. Morrow of the Corps of Engineers provided a more stark description of the travails park visitors had to encounter in getting to the park. He noted:

The park is now reached with considerable difficulty. The easiest method is by rail to Klamath Falls (about 88 miles from the main line), thence by boat to a landing on the shore of Upper Klamath Lake, whence the Crater Lake Co. operates an auto stage via Fort Klamath to their lodge on the rim of the crater (a run of about 30 miles). t may be reached by automobile from Klamath Falls or from Bend, Oreg. , both approaching via Fort Klamath, or from Medford approaching from the west and about 100 miles distant. Upon the completion of the Natron cut-off the railroad will be within about 10 miles of the eastern boundary of the park, and a road will doubtless be at once constructed toward the lake along the valley of Bear Creek. [21]


Appendix A6: Regulations of November 15, 1910, Governing the Administration of Automobiles
Appendix B6: Crater Lake National Park, 1912