Crater Money Sought – January 22, 1976

Crater Money Sought

Klamath Falls Herald and News

Klamath Falls, Oregon
January 22, 1976


The new director of the Pacific Northwest Region of the National Park Service will attempt to get some additional money for Crater Lake National Park this summer.

Russell E. Dickenson of Seattle said in Klamath Falls today he will meet with other NPS regional directors in Washington, D.C., next week. He said his top priority at the meeting will be to get reserve money released to help in the “apparent funding shortfall” Crater Lake is expected to see this summer.

The federal government is changing the beginning of its fiscal year from July 1 to Oct. 1. Money has been budgeted for the three-month “interim period,” but Dickenson said it only amounts to about 30 percent of a normal year’s budget.

Crater Lake officials say that 40 per cent of a year’s budget is spent in July, August and September, the high-use period of the year. It means the park could end up about 10 per cent short this summer.

Dickenson said if he is unable to get money released from the NPS reserve fund, the Pacific Northwest Region will attempt to minimize the impact of the shortfall by adjusting its priorities throughout the system.

Both he and Ernest J. Borgman, superintendent of the Klamath Falls Group of the NPS, said they don’t feel a readjustment would result in any visible impact on visitor services at Pacific Northwest parks this summer.

Will Have Effect

Dickenson said, however, that the shortfall could have some effect throughout the Pacific Northwest Region and regions in other areas of the country as well. He noted that it will come “at the peak of our operations…It couldn’t hit at a worse time.”

The only favorable thing, he said, is that the budgetary problem has been known for some time, allowing NPS officials to make plans to rearrange priorities. “I think we can certainly minimize it,” he said.

He added, however, that the “best solution” would be release of money from the reserve fund. Dickenson will meet in Washington from Jan. 26 through 30.

The new regional director, who took over last month following the retirement of John Rutter, was in Klamath Falls today to discuss the proposed Crater Lake Master Plan with environmentalists, U.S. Forest Service officials and snowmobilers.

Wednesday he and Borgman met in Portland with representatives of the Oregon Environmental Council. Dickenson said the council reacted “very favorably” to the proposed plan.

The plan is still in the draft stages and is not expected to be released to the public until April.

Dickenson this morning had some additional comments about the water problem at Crater Lake last summer and the subsequent congressional and parks service investigations.

He said he had “every reason to believe the Crater Lake water and sewer systems (now) meet all the standards…I feel very positive about that.”

1,000 Affected

Last summer a sewer line overflowed at the park and raw sewage contaminated the park’s water supply. As many as 1,000 visitors and park employes are said to have become sick with gastrointestinal illness because of the contamination.

The park was closed from July 11 to August 1. A new water system is now in use at the national park.

Dickenson said one of his highest priorities as the new director of the Pacific Northwest Region will be to insure there is no repetition of the problem at Crater Lake or any other park in the region.

He noted that the catastrophe resulted in a closer relationship with the Environmental Protection Agency and added that the NPS will attempt to “sharpen” its relationship with the Oregon State Health Division and the U.S. Public Health Division.

Dickenson indicated the NPS has given close consideration to both the “Hatfield report” and the “Fisk report” about the park closure last summer. He said the Fisk report is now under study in Washington, D.C., to see which of the findings should be instituted “systemwide.”

Borgman added that many of the recommendations in the Fisk report have already been implemented, among them location of a water and sewer system expert at the park.