Booming Crater Lake National Park – August 18, 1912

“Booming” Crater Lake National Park

Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette

Fort Wayne, Indiana
August 18, 1912

Uncle Sam, press agent; Uncle Sam, booster of his own natural attractions–that’s the old gentleman’s latest role. Immodestly, boldly, brazenly, with type and photograph, he’s started out to tell the world how wonderful and beautiful are certain portions of his domains, “Come one, come all,” shouts this national showman. “Step up and see the Yellowstone, the Yosemite, the Gran canyon and the other marvels I am showing to the universe. No admission charge. All you need is the price of railroad traveling and your board. Above all things, don’t miss the sight of Crater Lake National park. It’s worth a visit. If you have to forego a trip to Europe to see it.”

That’s the way the old many talks in a series of pamphlets which he is issuing. They deal with the scenic wonders of the United States. Three of them have been issued thus far–one on the Yellowstone National park, one on geysers and one on Crater Lake National park. The interior department, which has charge of these illustrated pamphlets,” Uncle Sam would give them away free, but his hard hearted, unfeeling secretary of the interior says it costs money to get up these illustrated booklets, and so he much charge for them.

Seriously speaking, the government does well to advertise Crater Lake park. It is one of the natural wonders of the world. It conveys to the mind of the beholder the same sense of awe inspiring grandeur aroused by the beauty and glory of Niagara, the marvel of the Grand canyon, the majesty of the gigantic redwoods. One stands on the rim of the thousand foot wall of the lake, gazing at the twenty mile circumference of the water and is enchanted by the play of color and the transparent beauty of the water. Seven thousand feet high lies the lake, in the rarefied atmosphere that lends charm to all it touches. The glow of color in the wall surrounding the lake and in the water itself is enchanting and indescribable. It equals or surpasses the variegated strata which form so large a part of the charm of the Grand canyon.

Crater Lake is, in a way, a freak of nature. It is the crater of an extinct volcano, lying in the southeastern corner of Oregon. it is situated in the center of a national par of 159,360 acres, created by act of congress. Many years ago the fires of the volcano subsided, leaving a circular basin. In course of time the basin filled with water. Soundings failed to reveal the depth until recent years, and the lake was claimed among the “bottomless” bodies of water. Soundings have now however, touched bottom 3,000 and more feet down.

The waters of the lake were lifeless until a few years ago when the government decided that letting so large a body of water lie idle was poor policy and stocked it with rainbow trout. Now anglers who undertake the hazardous climb down the side of the crater and cast their flies into the waters of Crater lake enjoy good sport. The color of the lake is deep blue, excepting along the border, where it merges into various shades and tints of green. It is so transparent that even on a hazy day a white dinner plate ten inches in diameter may be seen at a depth of a hundred feet.

Some idea of the transparency of the water may be gained from the accompanying picture, which shows the “phantom ship,” a craggy little islet which lies near the border of the lake. The government description of the “ship” reads:

“This rugged hell, with rocks towering like the masts of a ship, suggests the name, and, phantom-like, it disappears when viewed in certain lights from the western rim of the lake. It attracts every one by its beauty and winsomeness.”

The “phantom ship” is only one of numerous sights which well repay the traveler who takes the long wagon ride from the nearest railroad station to the park. The government is projecting roads which will make the trip easier, but just now Crater Lake is not, it must be confessed, one of the most accessible of natural wonders. But that does not detract from the reward which greets the sightseer after he has made the trip. He cannot say that he has seen all of America’s noteworthy sights until he has made the journey to the park.

He cannot fail to be impressed by Wizard Island, a symmetrical, cone shaped, heavily wooded mass of rock rising from the clear surface of the lake and reflected in the waters below. It may be that Wizard Island is the summit of Mount Mazama, which mark when the mountain blew up to form the bed of Crater Lake and which now projects above the surface of the water, which gradually filled the old crater.

One of the features which one notes almost immediately is the absence of any bench. The rocks tower perpendicularly from the surface of the water, and descent and ascent are impossible save at a few points around the rim of the lake. Shore cliff, for example, towers up like a skyscraper, and the tourist looking up at it from a boat obtains about the same “crick” in the back of his neck as he does when he stands in Roadway and looks up at a fifty story building.

A boat trip around the rim of Crater Lake discloses a host of beauties—Sentinel rock. Eagle cove, the Devil’s backbone, Palisade point and others with interesting and suggestive names.