Crater Lake explosives found
September 26, 1998
By JIM DAVIS
CRATER LAKE — A contractor found 50 blasting caps just off Cleetwood Cove Trail, a popular path that leads to the boat docks at the lake.
State police said the explosives may have been there for more than 40 years.
George Buckingham, the chief ranger at Crater Lake National Park, said he couldn’t confirm the 40-year figure, but said it has been years since blasting caps were used in the park.
“Thousands of people walked by there,” Buckingham said. “It’s kind of shocking, really.”
Contractors have been installing a new gasoline line this summer along the trail that leads 800 feet down from the rim of the caldera to the water’s edge. The line is used to fuel the boats.
On Wednesday, a worker found a blasting cap within 100 feet of the water, picked it up and then put it down after realizing what it was, Buckingham said.
The contractor called national park police, who called in the Oregon State Police bomb squad.
“The contractor found the caps and said `Help,’ and then we said `Help,”‘ Buckingham said.
Poking around, the police and contractors found a box of 50 Atlas electric blasting caps behind a tree. OSP bomb squad members reported that the caps were badly deteriorated and destroyed them.
Bomb squad members speculated that the caps were left from a job that was done in 1957 when the trail was constructed.
Buckingham said he didn’t know when the caps were left at the site.
“If we knew they were there we would have removed them a long time ago,” Buckingham said.
Contractors haven’t used blasting caps at the park for at least nine years, he said.
Twenty-five thousand people a year ride the four 60-passenger boats that carry visitors from Cleetwood Cove to Wizard Island and offer a close-up look at Phantom Ship island and other volcanic features.