Delegation Supporting Visitor Center at Crater Lake
Herald and News
Klamath Falls, OR
November 11, 2007
By LEE JUILLERAT
H&N Regional Editor
Members of Oregon’s congressional delegation are supporting efforts aimed at building the first-ever visitor center at Crater Lake, the county’s sixth oldest national park.
The state’s delegation recently sent a letter to Jim Nussle, director of Office of Management and Budget, asking the Bush administration to include $2.5 million in the Interior Department’s budget to create a visitor center at the park.
Park superintendent Chuck Lundy estimates it will cost $6 million to create the visitor center, which will be in a vacant building next to the renovated Rim Village Cafe and Gift Store in Rim Village. Under a proposed partnership plan, the Crater Lake Trust would provide $2.5 million to match the federal money with the remaining $1 million from park entrance fees.
Crater Lake National Park Trust
The Crater Lake National Park Trust was created in 2002 to help protect, promote, and enhance Crater Lake National Park, its unique water purity, and its value for human inspiration and knowledge.
More information, including photos of the current building and artist renderings of the proposed visitor center, is available online at www.craterlaketrust.org.
Crater Lake has never had a full-fledged visitor center.
Peter Allen, the Trust’s executive director, said a “world class” visitor center with interpretive and education exhibits would provide significant economic benefits for the park and neighboring counties, especially Klamath County.
“If we get people better oriented to what’s at the park they’ll stay longer and appreciate the park,” he said, noting the park, which is almost entirely in Klamath County, already has a multi-million dollar impact on the county.
Allen said that before the Trust can “seriously start seeking private donations, we need a congressional commitment.”
Following a recent trip to Washington, D.C., by Lundy, Allen and others, Oregon congressional delegation members agreed to support requests for the $2.5 million. He said Oregonians have shown they “love Crater Lake” through previous efforts.
“By making donations to the trust and purchasing Crater Lake license plates, they have already given over $3 million to park facilities and programs. Oregonians will give, but the federal government must also do its part,” Allen said.
He noted President Bush wants legislation to create a 10-year Centennial Challenge matching fund of $100 million per year for park improvements nationwide. While the Trust supports that effort, Allen said “we are also pursuing direct funding for this project on its own merits.”
The trust hopes to have the necessary funding by summer 2009, in time for Oregon 150, the state’s sesquicentennial celebration. “We can’t think of a better ‘birthday present’ for the state of Oregon,” Allen said.