Plotting a new course: Crater Lake superintendent Chuck Lundy to retire next year – November 12, 2007

Plotting a new course: Crater Lake superintendent Chuck Lundy to retire next year

Herald and News

Klamath Falls, Oregon
November 12, 2007

By LEE JUILLERAT

H&N Regional Editor

 

chuck-lundy-retires
Chuck Lundy will retire in January after nine years as Crater Lake National Park superintendent. H&N photo by Lee Juillerat

The Chuck Lundy years at Crater Lake National Park were defined by the park’s 100-year celebration.

 

Lundy, who will retire in January after nine years as park superintendent, termed Crater Lake’s Centennial celebration the “launching pad” for several projects, including special Crater Lake license plates and the lake’s appearance on the Oregon quarter.

 

Along with raising the park’s profile, Centennial spin-offs raised funds. The park received about $2.3 million from the license plate sales, which helped fund the start-up of the Crater Lake Learning and Science Center.

 

Education

 

The Crater Lake Trust, created as a philanthropic organization to generate long-term revenue for the park, led to Class-room at Crater Lake, an educational program for students and teachers in Southern Oregon. The Trust also is projected to help raise upwards of $2.5 million toward construction of a $6-million visitor center.

 

The park’s future

 

Whoever becomes Crater Lake National Park’s next superintendent will likely be starting off with improved finances. President Bush’s proposed 2008 budget calls for substantial increases in National Park Service funding, including $900,000 at Crater Lake.

 

Outgoing Superintendent Chuck Lundy said that money would be used to hire 14 interpretive and maintenance seasonal rangers, a new permanent law enforcement ranger and more natural resource rangers

 

Lundy believes a new superintendent should consider forging stronger relationships between the park and state, including efforts to have the Oregon Department of Transportation assist park crews with an earlier opening of the park’s North Entrance Road.

 

“Once the North Entrance is open, it is a real economic impact, especially for the gateway communities,” he says.

Lundy also promoted increased rolls for the Crater Lake Natural History Association, which provides financial aid and staffing at visitor contact stations; Friends of Crater Lake, which provide volunteers for a range of park projects; and the Crater Lake Ski Patrol, volunteers who patrol the park’s snow-covered trails during winter.

 

He also credits the cooperation of Klamath County commissioners, Oregon Institute of Technology, Southern Oregon University, Rep. Greg Walden, who he calls a “great champion of Crater Lake,” and Sen. Gordon Smith.

 

“Out of the Centennial was developed and expanded partnerships with our neighbors and our congressional delegation.”

 

“It’s been about accomplishing some great things to benefit the park and the visitors,” he says.

 

During his tenure, Rim Village underwent a facelift, historic Munson Valley buildings were converted into a dorm and offices for the science and learning center, and a new restaurant was built or online for construction, but he says the groundwork is laid for what he sees as the next superintendent’s major task.

 

“It borders as incomprehensible that America’s sixth oldest national park does not have a legitimate visitor center,” he said, “I think we’ve done as much as we can to get some momentum.”

 

Optimism

 

He’s optimistic about the park’s future, in part because of it’s value to Oregonians.

 

“The sense of ownership Oregonians have, their love affair with this park, has me feeling good about the park,” Lundy says. “This park creates a lot of great memories, whether you’re a visitor or work here. It’s an incredibly unique place that’s not duplicated anywhere in the world.”

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