Crater Lake National Park
The Star and Sentinel
January 8, 1916
By MARK DANIELS
(General Superintendent and Landscape Engineer of National Parks.)
Crater Lake National Park has been termed by many the eighth wonder of the world. Nestling in the heart of a great mountain which, in ages past, was a living volcano, 6,000 feet above the sea, with its sapphire surface unruffled, reflecting the many-hued surfaces of the 1,000 feet high crater walls which surrounded it, it is undoubtedly one of the most exquisite gems of color to be found in the world. Its blue surpasses the blue of the Bay of Naples in richness and intensity and its somewhat weird surroundings, pregnant with mystery and solitude, are in perfect harmony with the placid repose of its surface.
There are glaciers in many countries, high peaks, water falls, cascades, forests and fields of wild flowers to be found in many lands, but there is only one Crater Lake. Individuality is as difficult of attainment in scenery as it is in persons and in Crater Lake National park one finds it to an extreme degree.
The people of the United States are particularly fortunate in the possession of their national parks in that almost every one of them has a marked and striking individuality and contains within its boundaries some features which will leave a lasting impression and will be a source of joy and pleasure when other things are forgotten; but of all the sights that can be had in the scenic reservations of our country, perhaps none will strike the observer with such force and will leave as lasting an impression as Crater Lake.
Crater Lake National park is in the Cascade range of mountains in southern Oregon. The lake is circular in form and about six miles in diameter. Its surface is at an elevation of 6,177 feet above sea level and is an average of 1,000 feet below the crest of the surrounding crater rim. The great cavity in this mountain was once the crater of an active volcano which at one time or another collapsed, leaving a receptacle several hundred feet in depth which is now filled with sparkling blue water, clear as a diamond and of a blue that defies description.
Arranging for Tourists.
To make this unique gem of equisite beauty available to the traveling public has been no simple problem. The park is traversed by roads from the west and from the south and the approaches are along easy gradients and through wonderful forests and alongside beautiful canyons, but upon a closer approach to the ascent to the rim of the crater the difficulty of reaching the lake becomes more and more serious, and the problems involved in establishing proper accommodations for the tourists and maintaining them them throughout the season becomes more and more complex.
The superintendent’s house is located several miles from the rim of the crater and at an elevation of 6,000 feet above sea level. This altitude while more than 1,000 feet above the rim of the crater from which a view of the lake can be had, is still one which, at this latitude is covered with snows for many months of the year; it is however, the most practible place at which to locate the government headquarters and to establish a small village consisting of a few stores and supply stations. It is not, however, at the rim of the crater and therefore could never, under any circumstances, be a place where tourists would be content to stay, for there is ever the mountain top with the lake beyond beckoning top with the lake beyond beckoning the traveler to the goal of his pilgrimage.
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The establishment of the village on the rim of the crater overlooking the lake would be ideal, but in certain seasons the snows are so late in melting that tourists might never reach the village in the season of their travel. The solution, therefore, appears to be a double village or two stations, one at the lower level, which opens several weeks before the upper levels, and one at the rim of the crater. By this means tourists may arrive at the lower station, where accommodations may be found, and proceed to the rim of the crater by foot when the road is not passable for vehicular traffic. At the rim of the crater should be established a secondary village in which sleeping and eating accommodations are provided together with stores and studios which might supply the wants of the tourists.
Sailing and Fishing on the Lake.
The desire of the tourist upon arriving at Crater Lake National park is to reach the rim of the crater at the earliest time. Once there, his all-consuming desire is to descend to the surface of the lake and to sail upon arriving at Crater Lake National park is to reach the rim of the crater at the earliest time. Once there, his all-consuming desire is to descend to the surface of the lake and to sail upon the bluest sea about the phantom island and in the shadow of the jagged rim. After he goes this far, his next consuming desire will be to hook the glorious trout which may be seen swimming in the depths beneath his boat. A trip of this sort will only fill him with a further longing to encircle the lake on land around the rim so that he may drink in the sparkling colors and deeper shadows from all angles. The problem, therefore, which confronts the secretary of the interior is the development of roads and trails about the lake so that the tourist may receive full satisfaction and to do this, plans have been drawn and work begun on the roads and trails and village.
Congress has appropriated money which is being expended through the war department for the construction of an encircling road to be built around the crater. This road is under construction and a material portion of it has been completed. The three entrance roads, one from Medford on the west, one from Klamath Falls on the south, and one along Sand creek on the east have been completed and are now open to travel. The trail from the rim of the crater to the lake surface indicating the location of the proposed rim village has been constructed and will this year be widened and improved. A lodge or hotel has been constructed on the rim of the crater and roads connecting it with the superintendent’s headquarters at Anna Spring at the lower level have completed.