Don’t fish in Crater – February 13, 1998

Don’t fish in Crater

Mail Tribune
Medford, Oregon
February 13, 1998

The anti-angling movement has come to Crater Lake National Park.

Calling fishing a “violent process” inharmonious with Crater Lake, the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked the park to ban fishing within its boundaries.

“Our position is that fishing is inherently cruel,” said Dawn Carr, PETA’s anti-fishing campaign coordinator, during a telephone interview while she was protesting a Bassmasters fishing tournament in Mississippi.

“The last thing I want to see when I’m on a holiday is someone killing or torturing an animal in a park,” Carr said. “These fish have lives and should be left alone.”

Crater Lake is one of more than 150 national parks where some form of sport fishing is allowed.

All have been targeted by PETA for this anti-fishing campaign, called “Save Our Schools.”

The park provides few fishing opportunities, and having PETA focus on them was something of a surprise to park officials.

“They’re very sincere individuals with strong beliefs,” park Superintendent Al Hendricks said Thursday. “They have the right to promote their beliefs, which is fine.

“I’ll wait and see if it develops into something, but I’d be surprised if anything does,” he said.

PETA’s letter urges Hendricks to ban all fishing, which the group sees as cruel and incongruent with the sanctuary aspects of national park lands, where hunting is banned.

“The violent process of fishing and its consequences do not complement the peace and tranquility of a national park,” the Feb. 10 letter states.

But tranquility at Crater Lake is rarely affected by people wielding rods and reels.

Fishing at the park is relegated to remnants of introduced species that date back to the 1800s, Hendricks said. Angling is allowed in park creeks, except two creeks with protected bull trout in them.

The lake itself, which is naturally devoid of fish, has not been stocked since the late ’40s.

Lake fishing is allowed with artificial flies and lures only, and only from the boat-dock area of Cleetwood Cove or from the banks of Wizard Island. But few anglers make the effort.

“When you have to hike down a 1,000-foot cliff,” Hendricks said, “it tends not to attract a lot of people.”

PETA opposes stocking of nonnative fish, but allowing any fishing for them would be “adding a mistake on top of a mistake,” Carr said.

“And the fact that there’s so little fishing there,” Carr said, “would make this a great park to start (a ban) with.”