Editorial: Should this be a first ‘view’ of Crater Lake? – July 1, 2004

Editorial: Should this be a first ‘view’ of Crater Lake?

Herald and News

Klamath Falls, Oregon
July 1, 2004

Plans to return Crater Lake to the people aren’t some politician’s pipe dream, nor were they born yesterday. They deserve good treatment. Yet the House Interior Appropriations Committee has just removed $8.74 million from next year’s budget for a key part of those plans.

This is a view of the parking lot at Crater Lake’s Rim Village, and it’s what most visitors see first. The lake is at the rear of the photographer, but is usually only visible over the tops of vehicles A plan by the National Park Service calls for moving the parking area, but has run into funding problems.

For the past several decades, efforts have moved forward to return Crater Lake’s Rim area to a more natural state. Along with rebuilding Crater Lake Lodge with its historic look came the proposal to move the parking area away from the rim so that a visitor’s first view of the nation’s deepest, bluest lake wouldn’t come across a sea of asphalt and RVs.

The lodge was rebuilt and reopened nine years ago and Rim Village was renovated, but the parking lot remains. So does the parking lot “view.”

Crater Lake deserves better. So do the tourists who visit Oregon’s only national park.

Crater Lake is a national treasure with a tremendous amount of statewide support. Why else would Oregonians have selected the Crater Lake design for the Oregon quarter? Why else would they have put the Crater Lake license plate on track to become Oregon’s biggest selling special plate?

But the biggest case to be made for showing off the lake at its best is the beauty of the lake itself.

Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to be enough to convince the committee to keep the money in the budget for moving the parking lot, something that’s been proposed for many years.

The parking lot would be removed from its present location between the rim’s edge and the concession buildings, and the area would be restored to a more natural condition. In other words, it would look the way it should look.

There’s hope that the money will be restored.

The park’s superintendent, Chuck Lundy, said that both Oregon senators – Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith – and 2nd District Rep. Greg Walden have been “tremendously supportive.”

Lundy said that the project has been “a long time coming.”

It certainly has, and we hope Congress will recognize the national character of what it has at Crater Lake and take proper care of it.

An H&N editorial represents the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board.

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