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Smith Brothers' Chronological History of Crater Lake National Park



<< 1968   1969   1970 >>


The NPS acquires the ownership of the Historic Crater Lake Lodge, as the result of the Lodge Company relinquishing ownership as a new 30 year concession contract is renegotiated. The new contract is the longest concession contract in the history of the National Park Service. As one employee said, “The Lodge Company owners must have some powerful friends high up in the government.” The NPS plans to tear down the old lodge and build a new one in Munson Valley. The conversion of the Steel Circle residents into lodges and motels is being strongly considered in the Park’s Master Plan. 


Elva Michael of Portland begins employment as Ranger Secretary and Information Desk person.


Tom McDonough, long-term seasonal interp ranger begins his career at CLNP. Tom works most summers as the lead seasonal. As of 1997 Tom is still working summers.

June 23

The Klamath Falls Cluster Office is established, along with a General Superintendent to oversee the management of Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Caves National Monument, Lava Beds National Monument, and John Day National Monument. Donald M. Spalding is appointed as General Superintendent. Paul Larson, Chief Ranger, becomes, the “area manager” of Crater Lake but sometimes Paul is referred to as the “Acting Superintendent”. This name crisis lasts for 13 months.

August 5

Corps of Army Engineers limnologist, Doug Larson, lowers a white Secchi Disc (one meter in width), 45 meters down into the Lake, establishing a World’s Record for temperate Lake visibility. (See entries for: )

August 17

Tina Bassett, 14 years old of Grants Pass, Oregon, falls to her death while short cutting the Cleetwood Lake Trail. Tina, the daughter of a State Senator, was walking down to the boats with an older woman. Upon hearing the boat engines running, Tina expresses fear that the two of them might miss the boat. Tina asks permission to hurry on ahead. Approaching two fisherman ascending the trail, the girl inquires if there is a shortcut down to the dock. One of the men suggests that she cut on down along a rocky ridge directly above the dock. Soon after walking out on the rocky ledge, Tina slips and falls to her death in full view of the loaded Lake launch. An Oregon State Patrolman is quickly to her side, administering first aid, but the girl soon dies of a broken neck.

August 27

Second major car clout in Mazama Campground.


Ranger staff mans the summer Information Desk at Park Headquarters until midnight for the first time. 24 hour Park patrols are also instituted for the first time.


Old stone Fire Hall torn down in the Maintenance area. The 35 year old building sat next to the present Fire Hall. Some of the stones were the size of a small car.

September 6

Hunter kills buck near Steel Circle, within full ear shot of Park Headquarters. The hunter’s gun is confiscated and ends up spending the night in jail. He thought that since he had passed Park Headquarters, he was out of the Park.

September 9

Rescue of Ole Van, who was critically injured after falling into Annie Creek Canyon while attempting to take a picture. Van sues the Park, claiming that the bank on which he was standing gave way.

September 11

Third major car clout in Mazama Campground. The total for the season is over $4,400.

September 12

Man dies of heart attack in restroom behind the Cafeteria Building.

Labor Day

A mother bear and her two cubs are destroyed by rangers near Arant Point. The mother had become too dangerous and bold. Her cubs were killed because they were too young to survive without their mother.

October 24

A pickup camper rolls into Annie Creek Canyon killing the driver, Cecil Armstrong, and critically injuring his passenger. The passenger spends the night trapped in the canyon before being rescued.

1969 Season

Annie Spring Campground closed after being used for over 100 years. 

Season Visitation: 544,932



<< 1968   1969   1970 >>



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