Work will close Crater Lake trail: repairs will help keep pollution away
April 15, 1998
CRATER LAKE — Visitors to the collapsed volcano that forms the nation’s deepest and clearest lake won’t be able to visit the water this summer because installation of a new fuel line will block the only trail.
Crater Lake National Park is shutting down the trail that leads 800 feet down from the rim of the caldera to the water’s edge while it installs the new gasoline line for tour boats. Whether work will be finished in time for tours to resume during the busy tourist season is uncertain.
Park supervisors say the threat of pollution to the crystal-clear lake water made this repair necessary. Continuing to use the 30-year-old fuel storage tank on the rim of Crater Lake and the exposed gasoline pipeline to the boat dock at Cleetwood Cove presents an unacceptable risk.
Twenty-five thousand people a year ride the four 60-passenger boats that carry people from Cleetwood Cove to Wizard Island and offer a close-up look at Phantom Ship island and other volcanic features.
“I feel very sorry for visitors to the park this summer that there will not be a regular boat schedule going on,” said Dick Gordon, general manager of Crater Lake Co., which runs the park concessions. “A lot of people travel from thousands of miles away. This may be their only trip ever to Crater Lake. They won’t have an opportunity to experience Crater Lake from down on the water.”
Crater Lake was formed after the Mount Mazama volcano collapsed about 7,700 years ago. The waters are the clearest in the country.
Work on the pipeline can’t begin until snow plows reach the trailhead, scheduled for July 1. Once work begins, it is estimated to take two to four weeks to replace the 2,000-gallon storage tank and bury the pipeline along the trail, said park spokesman John Miele.
The cost is estimated at $350,000 and will be paid by the Park Service.
While the pipeline is being buried, the 1.1-mile trail to Cleetwood Cove will be closed to the public.
The 2,000-gallon storage tank must be replaced to meet the December deadline for new Environmental Protection Agency standards, Gordon said.