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Smith Brothers' Chronological History of Crater Lake National Park



<< 1979   1980   1981 >>


A six month high-level study of Crater Lake’s winter operations concludes that no changes are warranted.

Emil Nordeen’s 1931 Crater Lake ski trophy (38 inches high of solid silver) comes out of retirement in Sweden, when the trophy is awarded as the first place prize for a 37 mile Kalutra Skloppet race in Northern Sweden. This is the first time the Swedes have lived up to their 1960 agreement with Nordeen.


The Park’s rescue raft is slid down the Rim at Rim Village for a practice rescue run to Wizard Island. 12 rangers camp in snow caves on the island. The nighttime temperature at the Rim reached a minus 7 degrees, with 31 degrees being measured in the snow caves. Since it was a clear night, the rangers climbed Wizard Island by moonlight.

James Stansberry, Diamond Lake snowmobile guide, cited for leading 5 other snowmobilers off the established route. Stansberry was fined $500 (with $400 suspended) and restricted from any further guided trips into the Park.


A new government report estimates the Lodge needs $2.4 million in safety repairs. Additional studies concluded the Lodge needed $6.5 million dollars of repairs. The work was scheduled to begin at the end of the season, 1982, but because of the cost, the work is delayed.

January 8

Famed geologist Howel Williams dies in California. As requested by his brother in England, William’s ashes are shipped to Crater Lake. Superintendent Jim Rouse slipped the silver tube containing William’s ashes into the Lake at Cleetwood Cove the following summer. Forgotten Crater, an extension of Hillman Peak is renamed to “Williams Crater.”

January 13

Wesley Stanfield, 54, of Central Point, dies while skiing on the East Road, near the Wildflower Garden. The Chiloquin Ambulance, while transporting the victim, runs off the road near Fort Klamath, moderately injuring the for attendants who were giving CPR.

January 28

Congress is asked for $781,000 to reconstruct four miles of the West Rim Road, between the Watchman and the North Junction.

February 23

Senator Mark Hatfield, following through on a previous promise, introduces legislation to expand Crater Lake by some 23,000 acres. The bill would add Sphagnum Bog and Thousand Springs, Desert Ridge, Boundary Springs, all of Timber Crater, Bear Butte and the Sand Creek drainage. Hatfield left out some of the recommended Diamond Lake area, so as not to further restrict snowmobile use.

March 1

The first annual Dutton Creek Cross Country Ski Race. Reider Peterson, age 40, former U.S. Olympic Team member, wins in 39.0 minutes. Ten year old Brian Smith, wins the youth division in 80.45 minutes.

March 15

Ambassador and Mrs. Merwyn Norrish of New Zealand are shown around the Park by Superintendent Rouse.

March 16

Annual Portland Nordic Club Rim ski race.

April 1

The Klamath Falls Group (Cluster) office is abolished and all personnel are informed that they must either transfer to other parks, retire or move to Crater Lake by August of 1982.


Seasonal Ranger Rod Cranson publishes the geological story of Crater Lake entitled “Crater Lake - Gem of the Cascades”. Rod’s book is the first geological book published about Crater Lake since Howel Williams’ 1942 book.

May 18

The destructive eruption and eventual explosion of Mt. St. Helens, focuses renew attention to Mazama’s eruption and collapse, 6,600 years ago.


The complete Interpretive Ranger crew are returning veterans. This is the first time in memory that there has not been at least several new employees.

Oregon’s only nesting Peregrine falcon lays three eggs, but they fail to hatch. Again studies show that the shells were too thin and the eggs had dried out before hatching.


Massive search conducted for two teenage boys who become lost while playing on a snowfield below just below Rim Village. The boys confuse their directions end up walking 20 miles West to highway 230 where they were picked up by a trucker and are fed their first food for the day at Beckies in Union Creek. The boys said they were following their Boy Scout training which says to “head down hill when lost.”

June 15

Two floating Styrofoam docks are airlifted by helicopter from Discovery Point to Cleetwood. The foam floats ended up bouncing so badly, the docks are unsafe to use. Compounding the problem was the ripping off of huge hunks of Styrofoam every time the docks struck a rock. (Styrofoam was seen floating in the Lake for years.) One dock was destroyed in a storm and other one served for a time as an unstable fueling dock.

June 18

A 1600 acre prescribed burn is set, extending from Sharp Peak to the northeast corner of the Park.

June 23

The Oregon Court of Appeals is asked by former Crater Lake Lodge owner, Ralph Peyton, to set aside the $15,000 in punitive damages formerly awarded to Janice Joachim in 1978. Her lawyer accused Peyton and other officials of a “massive cover up”. The lawyer said there is evidence that most of the Lodge staff was sick by June 30, and that Peyton allowed sick employees to serve food and that he did not notify authorities of their gastrointestinal illnesses.


Ten year-old Brian Smith runs up Cleetwood Cove Lake Trail, with a pack on his back, in 12 minutes.

“A Crater Lake Boy”, written by his father: I find myself reliving again and again that look of pure joy on Brian’s face as I climbed off the Crater Lake Tour Boat. Brian was waiting at the dock expectantly. “Dad, I caught a fish!” he announced in front of everyone. His first one! All on his own! 

What was the strange inner desire that drove this ten year-old son of mine to ride his little one-speed bike fourteen miles around West Rim Drive at 5:30 a.m. so he could fish in Crater Lake? Perhaps it was the ovation Brian received from that early morning boat load of park visitors after the attending Ranger announced how Brian had arrived at the Lake shore that morning. Perhaps it was the special award she give Brian that morning as the boat pulled away from the dock. Never-the-less, Brian’s enthusiasm for fishing has continued, even on the days when he goes fishless. There is certainly something mystical about spending hour after hour keeping a fishing line wet when nothing noticeable is happening. Success doesn’t come easy to a 10 year-old fisherman, but there is always hope.

Brian has spent 8 years of his short life exploring the meadows and trails of Crater Lake National Park. First it was the frogs of Munson Creek that attracted his attention. Now, as he as grown older, he finds added joy in locating a new waterfall or perhaps discovering what is over the next mountain ridge. Observing the moving waters of Munson Creek or watching the splash of water on wet stones continue to have a special fascination.

Now that Munson Valley has been explored from ridge to ridge, Brian’s desire for further exploration has expanded. Christmas backpacking equipment has remained in the closet too long. Red Cone Springs and Boundary Springs are shouting out to be explored. Soon it will be Tututni Pass and Stewart Falls. The joy of reaching the day’s desired destination creates a special satisfaction. Perhaps this specialness comes from being away from his pesky sister, or maybe just being with his dad. 

Millions of visitors have enjoyed Crater Lake and its environs, but no one more so than this son of mine. Each day brings special plans to enjoy this spectacular place. Perhaps one of these years Brian will realize how fortunate he really was being raised in a national park and that he was truly a favored person. “Dad, aren’t you glad that I enjoy doing things like this, so that you can enjoy places like this?”

July 7

Thirty-five year old ultra-marathoner (100 miles), Warren Finks of 6917 S.W. 33rd Street, Portland, Oregon, runs the Cleetwood Lake Trail twice in 38 minutes, including a drink from the Lake.

July 18

Jonel Jack and John Todd marry in the Rim Center.

July 20

Domesticated sheep found grazing inside the Rim at Steel Bay. Two carcass are later found on the East Rim.

July 22

Mrs. Stanley Service, sister-in-law of famous Alaskan poet, Robert Service (“Cremation of Sam Magee, etc.) visits the Park.

July 28

National Geographic editor, John Eliot, visits Crater Lake while doing research for a future article on the 75th anniversary of Teddy Roosevelt’s legacy of establishing National Parks. Eliot hikes several trials and takes a boat ride.

August 8

Rudy Luech, box 333, Springdale, Utah, 84767, a former ranger at Crater Lake from June 16, 1929 until June, 1936, visits the Park. Luech was with Chief Ranger Godfrey when he died in a snowstorm on the South Road in 1930. 

August 9

Fifth Annual Rim Run Winners:

Men:  6.7  Pat Fox   Beaverton, Oregon  34.42
      13.0 Dave Collins  San Francisco, California 1:20.11
      26.2 Al Glidden  Klamath Falls, Oregon 2:44.12

Women  6.2 Kris Haeckeer  Grants Pass, Oregon  43.35
      13.0 Shirley Sandrowski Chico, California  1:51.48
      26.2 Jeanne Ottoman  Klamath Falls, Oregon 3:30.29

Nearly 500 runners participated on a very warm race day.

August 23

Richard DeYoung, 4594 Paradise Knoll, Castro Valley, California, age 40, runs the complete 33 mile Rim Drive taking four hours and 55 minutes. Richard used 2.5 liters of water, sipped at half mile intervals. DeYoung started his run at 6:15 a.m. from in front of Headquarters.

August 28

Crater Lake is experiencing its driest summer on record with only a total of 0.5 inches of precipitation recorded since June 13. Emergency fire presuppression funds are requested from the Regional office.

August 31

Scott and Pamela Burnett of Vancouver, Washington are remarried on Wizard Island. The couple had attempted the ceremony on September 3, 1979, but stormy weather had canceled the boat tours and the couple had to settle for an impromptu marriage ceremony at Cleetwood Cove. Judge Ken Odiorne of Chiloquin said that “this wedding was the most unique I have ever performed.” After failing to find any record of a previous Wizard Island marriage, the judge “entered their names in the Guiness Book of World Records.”

Jeff Adams, maintenance superintendent, retires after 23 years of continuous work at Crater Lake. Mr. Adams then begins another career as Liaison Officer for the contractors working on the Lodge.

September 22

The Oregon State Court of Appeals rules that a McMinnville, Oregon woman, who became ill after drinking contaminated water in the Park five years ago is entitled to $15,000 in punitive damages. Crater Lake Lodge Company and Ralph Peyton, president of the Company in 1975 had earlier been ordered to pay Janice Joachim $4,000 in compensatory damages and $15,000 in punitive damages. Peyton had appealed to the Appeals Court contending that the punitive damage award should not have been allowed.


The Park’s research boat, The African Queen, breaks loose in a storm and is destroyed against rocks at Cleetwood Cove.


Water Year Precipitation: 59.37 inches
Snowfall   The Previous 40 year average has been a yearly accumulation of about 600 inches.

Season:  1975/76  505.7 inches
            1976/77  244.25 (the lowest on record)
            1977/78  395.64
            1978/79  348.8
            1979/80  425.55
            1980/81  281.3 (the second lowest on record)


A remote signal seismograph is installed at Tututni Pass.

November 15

Seasonal Ranger Larry Smith makes an attempt to place the “Old Man of the Lake” into world competition in the Guiness Book of World Records as the World’s oldest floating log and as the World’s smallest  officially closed Government area (3.9 square feet). But unfortunately the Guiness people write back saying  that they do not have these types of categories.


Public hearings are held to determine the fate of the historic Crater Lake Lodge. The Park Service has determined that the building is worth restoring and asks Congress for $6.5 million in restoration funds.

December 15

The Federal Register lists the pumice grape fern (Bitrychium pumicola) and the Mount Mazama collomia (Collomia Mazama) as candidates for endangered and threatened species in the Park.

December 19

President Carter signs the Crater Lake expansion bill, adding 22,890 acres to the National Park. The legislation, proposed by Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon, moved the boundary of the Park to include scenic attractions on adjacent Forest Service Lands that had been missed when the Park was first established in 1902. The Park now totals 182,180 acres.

December 27

A Grants Pass Courier news reporter calls Park headquarters to check on a story that had been reported to him about “lava bubbling up in Crater Lake and that the water temperature had climbed 30 degrees in one week.” Officials at the Park assured the reporter that the rumors were false and the man couldn’t believe that he had swallowed a yarn like that one.


Park Magistrate, Frank J. Van Dyke of Medford, retires after serving the park for 27 years. The  Medford Magistrates office is combined with the Eugene office.

Season 1980

Visitation 484,256. Sixty three seasonal government employees worked at the Park during the summer.

<< 1979   1980   1981 >>



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