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Smith Brothers' Chronological History of Crater Lake National Park



<< 1976   1977   1978 >>


John Day (in his 60’s) of Medford and the Italian Olympic ski team ski around the Rim in 6.5 hours. The Italian team claims that the snow conditions were so perfect, that if they hadn’t had “Old John” with them, they could have done the 36 miles in 2.75 hours. A snowmobile broke trail and set track ahead of the team.


Free Ranger-led snowshoes hikes begun at Rim Village.


Park Master Plan accepted for Crater Lake National Park. The plans call for keeping the Park as is, except for some small improvements. Mazama Campground will be extended by 50 tent sites and a camper store will be built. The Rim Center, Visitor Center and the Lodge sleeping cabins will be removed. The plans also call for a rerouting of the Rim Village cross traffic away from the edge of the Caldera and a restoration of the area with native plants. When funds become available, an all-weather Visitors Center will be built on the Rim in the middle of the old parking lot, in front of the Cafeteria. Thus the Visitors Center will become the focal point of interest and not the souvenir shop.

January 16

Jackson County Sheriff Deputies arrest three subjects on Highway 62 who had stolen a purse from a car at Rim Village. The whole incident turns out to be a misunderstanding.


Mr. George Woodfield, of Yakima, Washington, donates John Maben’s collection of negatives, manuscripts, diaries and photographs of Crater Lake to the Oregon Historical Society. John Maben was the first winter caretaker of Crater Lake Lodge in 1924. Maben had attracted considerable attention when his monthly dispatches about his solitary life at Cater Lake were published in national magazines. Maben’s collection was presented to the OHS in memory of Alta Knips Woodfield, Maben’s niece, who had done a great deal of research on the history of Crater Lake.


Least yearly snowfall on record - 251.21 inches. (21 feet), but one of the wettest months on record.


Excessive rain and low snow pack causes extensive damage to the North Road. In order to minimize shoulder damage, the road crews removes the boards covering the entrance to the North Junction Cave and allows 2 feet per second of water to drain into the cave for two weeks. The cave never did fill.

June 4

The North Road is finally closed because of hazardous washout conditions in the Red Cone area caused by heavy snow run-off promoted by warm temperatures and the frozen ground.

Rescue of two young men from below Discovery Point.

June 10

Senator Mark Hatfield visits Crater Lake and is hosted by the Concessionaire for breakfast.


John Wesley Hillman’s grand niece, Pearl Verschoor of Medford, visits the Park.

Barry Vogel, boat driver, ascends the Cleetwood Trail in 10 minutes, 20 seconds and sets his sights on Olympic competition.

Two visitor vehicles burn to the ground.

Dutton Creek Trail is reopened to the public after many years of disuse. The trail was the original, 1860’s, 70’s and 80’s wagon trail to the Rim.

Construction begun on the widening of the first three miles of the West Rim Drive, beginning at Rim Village.

July 4

Steven Hummerville, 14, of Wilmington, Delaware, falls to his death while attempting to climb down to the Lake from behind the lodge. His brother Mike, 15, is rescued after failing to reach his brother. The father, an engineer for Dupont, had planned to take the boys on a boat trip, following short noon-time nap in the Lodge. Steven’s mother had died the previous summer.

July 23

Four car clouters arrested by Rangers Lloyd Smith and Bruce Wadlington near Diamond Lake after stealing over $2,000 from two vehicles parked at Cleetwood Cove. The four were brought back to the Park and eventually lodged in the Jackson County Jail.

July 30

Two C.B. radios, worth $448, are stolen from a camper at Mazama Campground through an elaborate confidence game.


The Lodge Company, along with the help of Paul Herron, age 73, places new buoys at Cleetwood and removes the old anchors, which had been made from old engine blocks.

One Peregrine falcon seen flying over the Lake.

August 1

Falling rocks on Cleetwood Cove Trail injures two women hikers.

The new Park Master Plan is now available for public inspection.

August 11

Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the nationally famous aerobics expert and writer, visits the Park and walks the Lake Trail. Dr. Cooper is impressed with the annual marathon run and wants to involve some of his acquaintances. Dr. Cooper feels that people from all over the country would come to Crater Lake if they know about the run.

August 12

Second annual Crater Lake marathon draws 206 runners for the three distance events. The winning time for the 26 mile run is 2 hours and 52 minutes and 18 seconds. A 63 year-old runner from Sacramento, California completes the marathon.

Rim Run Winners:

      Men: 6.5 Dave Ellison Klamath Falls, Oregon  34.36
      13.0 Dean Erhard Corvallis, Oregon   1:20.27
      26.2 Jeff Barrie Portland, Oregon   2.53.18
      Women: 6.5 Carol Kohlsheim Crater Lake, Oregon  59.25
      13.0 Vicky Paddock Klamath Fall, Oregon  1.51.14
      26.2 Susan Thomas Murdo, South Dakota  3:36.42

August 14

Stolen van located at Rim Village.

August 17

The Oregon State Health Department, with the assistance of the Fish and Game Commission, place Cosmic radiation detection devices (thermoluminecient dosimeters) on a nylon rope at 30 meter increments anchored near the Lake’s deepest point. A buoy, to aid in relocating the instruments, is placed 30 feet below the surface to allow for stretching and not to be a hazard to the Crater Lake launches. The Commission plans to leave the instruments in place for 5 years.

August 25

The Annie Spring flow drops to 0.4 cubic feet of water per second, or 200 gallons per minute. The lowest measurable flow on record. The lowest previous flow for Annie Spring occurred in 1968, when it measured 1.43 cubic feet per second. Park officials contemplate the drilling of wells to help augment the 85,000 gallons of water per day the Park consumes.

August 31

An unseasonably low snow pack allows the Scoria Cone snow plug to melt out sufficiently to allow entry into he cone’s volcanic vent for the first time. Ranger Pat Allender rappels approximately 150 feet into the Scoria Cone Cave without finding bottom.


Annie Spring reported to issue an average of 1,250,000 gallons per day. (410,000 per day during the low years.)

P.B.S. TV and filming crews spend time in the Park making a documentary film of the role of natural forest fires. 

Car clouting in Mazama Campground. Six cars are entered with cash and jewelry taken.

The axle of the old Lincoln that had fallen down behind the Lodge years before is finally covered over from view by erosion and pumice dust. (Paul Herron)


Several exploration of Scoria Cone follows Allender’s initial exploration. Allender, Vic Affolter, and Phil Grant descends over 150 feet into the feet and discover the “Ranger Room” cave, measuring 50 feet across with a vertical relief of 40 feet. A 10 inch piece of wood with an apparent sawn end is retrieved and identified as Douglas Fir. The wood is badly degraded. This type of breakdown is caused by hot water and steam, so there is the exciting possibility that the wood may have been in the vent while the cone was still active. A further indication that the wood is old is the lack of any Douglas fir in the area around Scoria Cone today. Pat Allender retrieved the wood from the lowest chamber of the vent. The wood sample was given to Joy Mastrogiuseppe of Eastern Washington College in Pullman, Washington, in hopes of getting the wood carbon dated. Eventually dated at: 3900 years.

September 2

Rangers Sholly and Pat Allender rappel into Scoria Cone. The two men spend 8 hours investigating several long sloping vents. Many rooms are discovered with some measuring 50 feet long, by 20 feet wide and 20 feet high.

September 20

The first large scale exploration of the interior of Scoria Cone is conducted by Dan Mason, Dave Lange, John Davis, Chief Ranger Dan Sholly and Geology expert, Stan Mertzman. Sholly and Lange descend to a depth of 400 to 500 feet and explore two additional “chimneys” or conduits, 12 feet by 25 feet each with a vertical relief of 200 feet. During the arduous trek out, near midnight, the Chief is struck on the arm by a falling rock and because of his injured arm, Dan is forced to pull himself out using only one arm. 

September 20

Mining is no longer allowed within any National Park areas except for those claims already approved.


Contract awarded for installing a new PBX phone system.

October 14

The old North Entrance employee cabin is burned as a fire training exercise. It used to house 4 seasonal rangers.


A sick ground squirrel found the North East corner of the park is found to have Sylvan plague.

Season Visitation: 617, 479, a new Park record. Still holding as of 1996

<< 1976   1977   1978 >>





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