National Park Service leader pays return visit to Crater Lake
Herald and News
Klamath Falls, Oregon
August 23, 2002
By LEE JUILLERAT
CRATER LAKE — Fran Mainella figures she has the federal government’s best job.
“Look at where I am today,” crowed Mainella, the National Park Service’s 16th director, Thursday at Crater Lake National Park.
Mainella arrived at the park Wednesday. She stayed overnight at the Crater Lake Lodge before holding a breakfast meeting with park staff Thursday morning, speaking at dedication ceremonies at the future home of the Crater Lake Science and Learning Center, and taking a ranger-guided lake boat tour later in the day.
It was her first visit to the park as service director, but not her first visit ever.
“I’ve seen the park with the eyes of a visitor. I’ve been here as a citizen, in 1995 after the lodge reopened,” said Mainella. “I was impressed with the park then, and more impressed with it now.”
The focus of Mainella’s visit was the dedication of the park’s science and learning center. In dedication remarks, she emphasized that national parks need to be involved with and form partnerships with neighboring communities.
She noted Crater Lake has a long tradition of scientific study, beginning with lake surveys done in the later 1886 and expanded during the 1980s.
“I think science has been a dominant theme here at Crater Lake. Now it’s transitioning to a new level where it includes visitors.”
She said the newly renovated displays Sinnott Memorial reflect that change, noting, “I will remember that exhibit and what I learned from that in a way that will always remain with me. I don’t have to be a scientist to understand what I learned.”
Mainella said she was surprised to learn that Crater Lake, the fifth-oldest national park, has never had a true visitor center.
“I think that’s something that’s very necessary,” she said of a visitor center. “There is a very strong need.”
Mainella emphasized that parks like Crater Lake serve valuable purposes.
“They are so important. We know the environmental benefits that parks provide. But parks also bring hope and unity and healing to people,” said Mainella, referring to increased park usage nationwide after last year’s terrorism events.
“This morning,” reflected Mainella, “when I looked out over the lake to see that beautiful blue water, it brought my stress level down. Crater Lake and other parks unify families, bring people together, give us hope for the future.”
Centennial events continue Sunday.
The build-up to Sunday’s rededication ceremonies at Crater Lake National Park continues Saturday.
The main parking lot at Rim Village will be closed throughout the day to set-up for Sunday’s ceremonies, which formally begin at 1 p.m. People visiting the Rim Village area Saturday can parking at the Rim Village picnic area.
Saturday activities include a 10 a.m. Crater Peak hike, junior ranger programs at 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Annie Creek Canyon hike at 2:30 p.m., and twilight Watchman Peak hike at 7.
The day’s featured activities include a public walking tour of Rim Village rehabilitation projects at 1 p.m. and dedication of the new Sinnott Memorial Overlook and Museum at 2. The walking tour will begin at Crater Lake Lodge and end at the Sinnott in time for the ceremonies.
Rim Village will be closed to motor vehicles Sunday with shuttles available throughout the day from the park headquarters area. Although formal ceremonies will begin at 1 p.m., when invited guests arrive in classic vehicles, pre-entertainment is planned at 12:30 p.m. by the Ashland City Band and Klamath Tribes drummers and dancers.
Rededication speakers will include an appearance by Mark Hatfield, a former Oregon governor and senator, and talks by Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, Klamath Tribes chairman Allen Foreman, Klamath County Commissioner Steve West and park Superintendent Chuck Lundy.
Admission to the park will be free Sunday.
Regional Editor Lee Juillerat covers Lake, Siskiyou, Modoc and northern Klamath counties. He can be reached at 885-4421, (800) 275-0982, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.