Crater Lake Closes in Nausea Epidemic – July 13, 1975

Crater Lake Closes in Nausea Epidemic

The News

Van Nuys, California
July 13, 1975
CRATER LAKE. Ore (I”PI) — State police and forest rangers yesterday blocked all entrances to spectacular Crater Lake National Park, containing the nation’s deepest lake, because of an outbreak of epidemic nausea which forced the park’s abrupt closure.

“There were a lot of disappointed people here today,” said a ranger who turned away 50 cars himself.

Inside the park, the situation was summed up by a note in the main lodge guest book, saying “The Crater Lake Crud has struck.”

The park was closed Friday to the summer flow of 40,000 weekly visitors because a broken pipe, imbedded in volcanic ash, leaked raw sewage into a spring.  Between 500 and 1000 visitors and employes recently suffered vomiting, stomach cramp and diarrhea.

Public health specialists said those victims — and thousands of unknown others — risked hepatitis. Letters went out to all departed visitors who happened to have left their names, advising that they seek a physician and gamma globulin inoculations.

Karen Wald, a student working in the craft shop, became ill July l and has been sick off and on ever since. Before her departure, she said there were “some very gruesome nights” in her dormitory and “very long lines to the bathrooms.”

The contamination did not reach into Crater Lake itself, a stunning 1932-foot deep blue pool sitting 1000 feet below the crater rim. The park was empty yesterday except for a couple of dozen employees.

They remained because, as Richard Sims, park superintendent, said, ‘we have work to do’ His men drank only water trucked from outside.

Even if all goes well, Sims said the park would be closed for several weeks before it can be reopened, a new water supply system must be connected to one of several available springs near the crater rim.