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Smith Brothers' Chronological History of Crater Lake National Park



<< 1977   1978   1979 >>


$250.000 is appropriated for reroofing the Lodge. The project doesn’t begin until the summer of 1981.

February 11

The Crater Lake Wilderness/Cross Country Ski Race is resurrected after a lapse of 40 years. 

Gary Dilesky of Hillsboro, Oregon wins the 14 (or it could be 16 mile), “B” ski race in one hour and 54 minutes.

David Beck of Klamath Falls wins the “C” ski race in one hour and 48 minutes.

73 year-old Pete Hedberg, winner of the 32 mile, 1933 Crater Lake - Fort Klamath Ski Race, skis the 14 miles on his old-fashioned cumbersome wooden skis.

Mr. E. Nordeen, 88 years old and former winner, visits the ski race and tells stories about his skiing adventures. (See 1929 entry)

February 20

The Fulton’s mail delivery suburban flips over on the South Road.

March 29

Six rangers lower the Park’s inflatable rescue raft over the Rim and into the Lake for a practice exercise. The first record of winter boating on the Lake.

March 31

The NPS reports that the new Annie Spring water system has cost $452,596. A total of 1,617 tort claims have been submitted against the Park due to illness caused by the sewer overflow. The loss has totaled $398,614, with several claims still pending. The only lawsuit filed against the government has been filed by the Crater Lake Lodge Company to edemnify them against future claims.

May 21

Hank Tanski, new Assistant Chief of Interpretation, EOD’s. Hank holds the position for 10 years before transferring to John Day NM. (and retiring from the NPS in 1997)

Precipitation for the water year: 55.58 inches.


Freddy (possibly Freda) the red fox takes up residence along the Rim Village Rock Wall. He/she makes a living off of numerous Golden Mantle Ground Squirrels. The sight of G.M.G.S. tails and feet sticking out of the fox’s mouth sickens many Park visitors.


Rangers Marion Jack and Vic Affolter hear something large crashing through the forest at the old PCT entrance on the West Road. A pine cone is tossed through the air and the strong odor emanating from whatever it was is over powering.


Assault by a Forest Service employee on Rangers Hershel Henderly and Jim Donovan at Rim Village. The visitor’s vehicle was chased by several armed rangers to the West Road, where the subject was subdued and arrested with force. The subject was released the next day by the courts and given a light misdemeanor sentence and small fine.

July and August And during the 1979 season

Dr. Doug Larson, using 350 water samples, identifies 99 species of Lake algae. Most are rare, with only 6 or 7 species being predominate. Obtains a Secchi Disc reading of only 67 feet, or about half the clarity distance measured in 1969.

July 14

A Park visitor runs up and down Wizard Island in 18 minutes after forgetting his tripod at the top. The tour boat was waiting for him.

July 24 to September 21

A large lightning storm sets several fires in the Park and surrounding area. Two of the fires are allowed to burn. The Sun Creek fire burns 1.5 acres. The Crater Peak-Goodbye Fire eventually burns 540 acres and kills 10% of the mature trees in the path of the flames. Basically the fire is a ground fire, so much brush and accumulated fuels are burned out. Large animals, such as elk are soon seen in the area as the flames cool down. The fire was named “Goodbye” as it was now good-bye to the old fire management plan of attacking and putting out every forest fire. Depending on where the fire is in the Park, its cause and season of the year, some fires will be allowed to burn themselves out naturally. Since the Goodbye fire was within sight of visitors entering the Park from the South, a large sign was placed on the road saying, “Natural Fire, Do not report.” Rangers were also stationed along the road to explain to visitors the reasons for allowing a naturally caused fire to burn.

July 29

John White, NPS seasonal employee, runs from Headquarters to the top of Garfield Peak and back again without stopping, in 45 minutes.


A new water system and pipes are installed at Lost Creek Campground.

August 12

Third annual Rim Run. 457 runners, 82 which are National Park Employees. Nine finished the full 26 mile run.

Rim Run Winners

Men: 6.5 Greg Spruill Springfield, Oregon   33.41
13.0 Darcy Burleson Phoenix, Oregon   1:13.11
26.2 Thom Burleson Eugene, Oregon   2:37.29
Women: 6.5 Carol Kohleim Crater Lake, Oregon   47:13
13.0 Darcy Burleson Chico, California   1:39.24
26.2 Sally Edwards Chico, California   3:33.49

August 22

NPS Director, Bill Whalen, visits Crater Lake for two days.

August 24

Massive air and ground search conducted by the National Guard and volunteers in search for a Cessna 182 that disappeared in the Crater Lake area with three on board, February, 1975. The search concentrates on a 50 square mile region in the southwestern portion of the park and the Northeast corner of Jackson County. The results were negative.

August 27

Jim Rouse, Crater Lake’s 21st superintendent, enters on duty.


An older couple, because of a misunderstanding of the boat schedule, is left overnight on the Island. They light a huge fire which is easily seen from Rim Village, but because of the danger of running a boat at night, rescue is held off until first light. The woman in the group promises to really stir things up in Washington “because of top connections.” Superintendent Rouse treats the two of them to breakfast at the Lodge.

September 8

Gary Roden, 29, of Enumclaw, Washington, asks Ranger Hank Tanski for permission to leave his pack at the Visitor Center for a few hours while he explored the Rim Village area. When Gary did not return by closing time, Hank left a message and phone number on the door of the center and took the pack to Headquarters, returning to the Rim area several times during the evening, in search of Roden. Several days later, Hank discovered a postcard of Wizard Island in Roden’s pack saying, “I are on the island, and I’m not coming back alone.” This note, plus the report of several visitors say they had seen movement on the Island, prompted Tanski and Rick Kirchner to attempt a rescue in the Park’s Zodiac Raft which first required carrying the boat down the Cleetwood Lake Trail. As the craft arrived outside the boathouse, the door was flung open and Roden asked, “Are you looking for someone?”

Roden claims to have swum over to the Island with the idea of committing suicide by swallowing drugs, including cocaine. Roden had a change of heart and supposedly burned the drugs. He spent his first two nights in the Island’s crater, the next two nights under the trees and one night in the boat house. He also thought that the Island would be a quiet place to play his silver flute, which he had brought with him. Roden stated that the water was two cold to swim back, and waited five days for his rescue. The only food Gary was able to find was a shriveled up orange in one of the boathouses. On the way back to Cleetwood, as Hank was offering Roden part of his lunch, he asked Hank, “Are there any fish in the Lake?” Since this is the number one question asked by visitors and since Hank had heard the question all summer, he said he felt like pushing Roden overboard. It was later determined that Roden was a mental patient from Salem.

September 8

Tana Hill and Chief Ranger Dan Sholly marry in the Lodge. They had planned for the ceremony to take place at Sun Notch, but inclement weather forced the marriage inside.

September 28

A prescribed forest burn of 6,000 is set in the Park’s northeast corner, east of Timber Crater. The fire spreads at a speed of 35 feet per hour. By October 22, 2,600 acres had burned. A thick thermal layer of air over the area sends smoke into the Rogue Valley.


Mrs. John Creaghan of Baton Rouge, LA, Granddaughter of John Wesley Hillman, visits the Park.

October 2

Male bear destroyed by Ranger Mark Forbes near Mazama Campground.

October 11

The prescribed burn set 13 previously reaches 1,200 acres in size. Two previously naturally caused fires are allowed to burn.

October 18

Superintendent James Rouse issues a new pet policy allowing permanent Park residents and employees to keep pets in the Park for the first time.

October 26

80 people are suing Crater Lake Lodge because of the 1975 water problems.

October 30

The top one-third of a nearly dead Mountain Hemlock tree breaks off during a wind storm, knocking holes in the roof and walls of Stonehouse #28. One of the logs pierced the upstairs bedroom ceiling, shattered a new chest of drawers, and sent plaster flying around the room. The larger log pierced the wall above the window frame in the pantry, crossed the pantry and shattered on the kitchen wall, narrowly missing Hank Tanski and Ron and Joy Mastrogiuseppe. Flying plaster drew blood from Ron’s upper lip.


Thirty prong horn antelope are spotted by Teri Thomas at Desert Creek.


Greg Weidel and Sara Shapira begin operation of the Crater Lake Ski Service. Greg and Sara live in a converted 1952 Blue Bird school bus parked in the center of the Rim parking lot. The ski service first used the Rim Cafeteria, and then the Rim Center for the next four winters and the V.C. in 1984.


The Ashland Daily Tidings reports that the Civil Air Patrol notified Sheriff’s deputies that the patrol had sighted a “Help” sign spelled out on rocks in the Trapper Creek area of Crater Lake National Park. Deputies reported an unsuccessful search of the area.

November 9

Multnomah County Circuit Court jury awards $19,000 in damages to Janice Joachimof McMinnville, Oregon. $4,000 in general damages and $15,000 in punitive damages. Mrs. Joachim became ill after visiting Crater lake Lodge in July of 1975. The Joachim suit if the first of nearly 100 that are still pending.

December 17

A porcupine is discovered near Steel Circle, northwest of the power plant, with its underneath hollowed out and with mountain lion tracks in the surrounding snow.

Season Visitation: 580,061. 

Total fees collected at the entrance stations: $207,000, which was about 20% of the total Park budget.

<< 1977   1978   1979 >>



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