31 4. An Act to Add Certain Land to the Crater Lake National Park

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


Print this page




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


<< Previous | Table of Contents | Next >>


4. An Act to Add Certain Land to the Crater Lake National Park in the State of Oregon, and for Other Purposes (47 Stat. 155–May 14, 1932)

The long-sought effort to provide a more attractive southern entrance to the park and secure a more available water supply for park utilization was achieved by legislation in June 1932. On March 1 of that year Representative Robert R. Butler of Oregon introduced a bill (H.R. 9970) providing for the transfer of land from Crater National Forest to the park for such purposes. As introduced the bill provided:

That all of unsurveyed sections 2 and 11, north half and north half south south half section 14, and those parts of unsurveyed sections 1, 12, and 13, lying west of Anna Creek, in township 32 south, range 6 east, Willamette meridian in the State of Oregon be, and the same are hereby, excluded from the Crater National Forest and made a part of the Crater Lake National Park subject to all laws and regulations applicable to and governing said park. [14]

After the bill was referred to the House Committee on Public Lands its chairman, John M. Evans of Montana, requested the views of the Interior and Agriculture departments on the proposed legislation. On March 18 Secretary of the Interior Ray L. Wilbur submitted a memorandum in support of the bill that had been prepared by National Park Service Director Horace M. Albright three days before. In his memorandum Albright stated:

The extension proposed to be authorized by this legislation is the so-called Annie Creek extension of approximately 973 acres, to the south of Crater Lake National Park as recommended by the Coordinating Commission on National Parks and Forests.

The purposes of this extension are to secure for the Crater Lake National Park a more attractive entrance amid fine yellow pine forests and to secure a more available water supply for park purposes. This is of great administrative importance.

Because of unfavorable natural conditions and lack of available water supply at the south entrance to Crater Lake National Park, the idea of extending the park boundary some 3 miles farther south to include Annie Creek and the highway has been under consideration for the past five or six years. Such extension would provide a far more imposing park entrance and at the same time enable the development of a gravity water supply for ranger uses at the entrance.

The area was inspected by the Coordinating Commission on National Parks and Forests in 1926 and full agreement was reached on this proposed extension, which was also concurred in by the Forest Service. . . .

Albright went on to report that “an entirely new description of the area proposed to be added to the park” should be given in the bill. Hence he recommended new boundaries for the addition to the park:

That all of that certain tract described as follows: Beginning on the south boundary line of Crater Lake National Park at Four Mile Post No. 112; thence west along the south boundary line of said park 4.26 chains which is the northwest corner of this tract; thence south 114.42 chains; thence south 40°59′ east, 84.39 chains; thence east 15.13 chains to highway stake No. 130; thence north 89°30′ east, 18.06 chains; thence north 20.83 chains; thence north 19°40′ west 126.04 chains; thence north 27°52′ west 43.50 chains to the south boundary of Crater Lake National Park; thence west 24 chains, following the south boundary of said park to the place of beginning, in.

On March 16 Secretary of Agriculture Arthur M. Hyde submitted a report that gave less than enthusiastic endorsement to the bill, provided that Albright’s revised boundary description was incorporated into its text. Hyde observed:

. . . It is understood informally from the National Park Service, that the bill incorrectly describes the lands which it is desired shall be affected by it and that a new description will be proposed; that this new description covers an area of approximately 973 acres extending along both sides of the Fort Klamath road for a distance slightly in excess of 2 miles; that the purpose of this addition is to insure a more attractive entrance to the Crater Lake National Park by giving especial protection to the timber along the highway.

This department feels that as a general rule such piecemeal adjustments of coterminus boundaries between national parks and national forests are less desirable and effective than comprehensive and permanent adjustments based upon careful studies of all factors involved which will include within the park all areas predominantly of park value and exclude from the park all areas predominantly of industrial value. It also dissents to the idea that the inclusion within national parks of the roads giving access thereto is essential to the maintenance of the scenic attractiveness of such roads, since this department in the administration of the national forests also adheres to a policy of conserving the scenic values of the lands abutting on the highways. In this particular instance, however, representatives of the Forest Service have agreed that the addition of a certain area to the park would not seriously conflict with the use and management of the surrounding national forest lands, and if the bill is amended to correctly describe that area, this department will offer no objections to its enactment.

After some deliberation the House Committee on Public Lands reported favorably on the bill I on March 24 with the recommendation that Albright’s boundary revisions be inserted. [15] As amended the bill encountered little opposition in Congress. It passed the House on April 18, was referred to the Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys on April 19, and received a favorable report without amendments on April 26.[16]

After passage by the Senate on May 9 the bill was signed into law (47 Stat. 155) by President Herbert C. Hoover on May 14, 1932. Thus, 973 acres were added to the park, the addition becoming popularly referred to as the park’s “southern panhandle.”

The boundary change, which added some 973 acres to the park, had ramifications for the Park Service in terms of road maintenance. In response to inquiries from the Oregon State Highway Commission, Superintendent Elbert C. Solinsky stated on July 14, 1932:

It is true that our park boundary has been extended to include approximately 973 acres along the southern boundary. This addition includes a section of the state highway between Fort Klamath and the old park boundary. I believe approximately three miles of this highway have been added to the park and are now a part of the park highway system and subject to maintenance from Park Service funds. Unfortunately this year no allotments have been provided for the maintenance of this section. In fact practically no funds are available for road maintenance of our park roads. For that reason we will not undertake any maintenance work on the new section added by this boundary change this year. [17]

Some years later Superintendent Earnest P. Leavitt observed that considerable friction had developed between the Park Service and the Forest Service during negotiations for this addition to the park. Among other observations, he stated that:

. . . originally it was contemplated that the addition would be along section lines and would be a sizeable area. Before the addition was worked out, however, the Forest Service officials in charge became provoked at the National Park Service and determined that they would agree to only the very smallest area possible that was necessary to preserve this stand of ponderosa pine. The result is that we have a very narrow and irregular tongue of land extending south from the park boundary. [18]