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Smith Brothers' Chronological History of Crater Lake National Park



<< 1983   1984   1985 >>


$800,000 is programmed to begin remodeling the old Ranger Dorm to provide offices, curatorial space, a visitor contact station and a small auditorium.

$71,400 is spent each winter plowing the access road from Headquarters to Rim Village. If year round lodging and an Interpretation Center were added to Rim Village, the road clearing cost would rise to an estimated $230,000 or more. Related costs of maintaining a year-round lodge at the Rim are estimated to run at about $656,000. (All this cost for providing winter access for only 30 lodge rooms.)

March 23,24 & 25

A three day search is conducted for an overdue ski party (Finkbender & Walker). The lost party is discovered N.E. of Mt. Scott and rescued by a helicopter from the 304 Air Rescue Squadron.


Several public hearings concerning the future of Crater Lake Lodge are held around the state. Previous public hearings had determined that the public desired to save the historic structure, but cost estimates keep escalating. The estimated $8.6 million needed for the Rim Village reconstruction projects causes the NPS to reevaluate its position. The Park Service, facing reality, finally proposes that the 68 year old Lodge be demolished.

The Government’s preferred alternative to the Rim development is a $8.54 million expansion of the Cafeteria Building and the construction of a 58 room, year-round guest room addition. The money would also be used to remove several smaller structures, and the building of a new Rim parking lot back away from the edge of the Caldera, with the present parking lot being turned into a pedestrian mall. 32 housekeeping cabins and a central Lodge office and lounge would be built in the Goodbye area, with more cabins and a store being constructed at Annie Spring. A new sewer line would carry sewage away from Rim Village on down to Park Headquarters for treatment. The leach fields west of Rim Village would be closed. The old Annie Creek Campground is proposed to be reopened as a group campground.

March 20

The first public hearing on the proposed Rim Redevelopment opens in Klamath Falls with three others soon following in Medford, Roseburg and Salem.

80% of the people surveyed want the old Lodge saved. 


The U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals return to the Klamath Indians their ancestral hunting rights. The disputed area includes the eastern portion of Crater Lake National Park. A test case is expected soon.

The Park’s interpretive work center and Park library are moved from the Old Ranger Dorm into the second story of the Old Mess Hall. This is the work center’s sixth move in 18 years.

April 16

Robert E. Benton enters on duty as Cater Lake’s 22nd superintendent, transferring in from Bryce Canyon. Benton states, “Crater Lake has been neglected too long. Our time has come.”

April 17

A light plane, flying in dense fog and drizzle, crashes into 140 inches of snow, 1000 feet north of the northern boundary of the Park. The pilot, Joseph Kemery, 26, and his wife Heather, 22, are both killed.

May 29

The Medford Mail Tribune reports that Superintendent Jim Rouse has squelched rumors that Crater Lake has heated up and killed the fish. Many people are calling.


Sierra Club officials express concern about proposed geothermal drilling near the eastern boundary of the Park. California Energy Company has filed for permission to drill nine test holes down to 4,000 feet. The exploratory holes would be 8 inches at the surface, narrowing to 2.5 inches at the bottom.

The name of Forgotten Crater, between Hillman and the Watchman, is officially changed to Williams Crater, by the Oregon Geographic Names Board in memory of geologist Howell Williams. The name change was first suggest by Dr. Charles Bacon, U.S.G.S. geologist.

The Park institutes a major P.R. campaign to encourage donations of people, money or equipment.

Seasonal Ranger Larry Smith sets a new Park record by moving into his 14th residence, since 1962, which have included trailers, dorms, cabins and the Stone Houses.

A team of historical architects and engineers survey the Park’s historic building. A plan is to be formulated on how best to use and preserve the grand old buildings.

June 24

NPS Director Russell Dickerson states that all development should be removed from Rim Village except for an interpretive center in the Cafeteria Building and further states that continued use of the Crater Lake Lodge contradicts NPS policy to remove all non resource- related facilities from prime resource areas.


A contract worth $102,665 is awarded to Baker Construction of Klamath Falls for the replacement of the comfort stations down at Cleetwood Cove. The new solar powered potties are expected to require less maintenance.

Sharon Hackerott, 21, of Ashland, Oregon becomes the Lodge Company’s first female boat driver.

June 1

The Park’s procurement division discovers over $500 worth of Lost & Found property, including cameras and watches, missing from the L&F storeroom.

June 20

Harry Lee “Hawk” McGinnis of Dallas, Texas arrives in the Park eying a new Guiness Record. Hawk plans to be the first person to have walked in all 50 states during one single trip. McGinnis, 57, a retired minister, plans to complete the trip by his 60th birthday. He has completed 10 states so far and plans to write two books about his travels.


Park officials become very concerned about the proposed geothermal drilling along the east park boundary. “In 1,000 years Crater Lake will be one of the true benchmarks of untouched land. We have a responsibility to protect that”, says Superintendent Bob Benton. Resource Management Specialist Jan Jarvis says, “We are not an island in the middle of an ocean. Things that go on around us have an effect on us.”

July 5

A new Boston Whaler boat and a new aluminum research boat (The Queen III), worth collectively $24,000, are airlifted into the Lake from the Cafeteria parking lot. Several loads of fire wood are also delivered to Mt. Scott and the Watchman fire lookouts. The total job took 3 hours at a cost of $1,000 per hour.

July 12

A vehicle flips and rolls 150 down an embankment, below Rim Village, slightly injuring a female Lodge employee.

July 16

John Hillman, 62, of Walnut Grove, MS, collapses and dies of Acute Posterior Myocardial Infraction while attempting to climb Cleetwood Cove Trail. An attempt to evacuate the victim by helicopter fails because CPR could not be administered in the confines of the cabin. Evacuation was instead by the concession’s trail tractor.

July 27

The Lodge reports a theft of $116 in tips from the Watchman Lounge.


Eleven year-old Amber Smith accidentally takes the west side of Munson Ridge instead of the east side as she walks from Rim Village to Headquarters. Four hours later, after chasing butterflies and wondering why the trip was taking so long, Amber finds herself walking west on the West Entrance road, thinking she is still above Headquarters. Finally realizing she is lost and not sure of where she is, a visitor stops after seeing Amber crying and offers her a ride back to Headquarters.


Lightning strikes a clump of three Mountain Hemlocks alongside the Cafeteria Building in Rim Village. Since the day was a warm and cloudless day, the lightning literally “came out of the blue”. Hot, twisted and split wood fragments were scattered around a large area.

August 1

The NPS announces that the “historic but dilapidated” Lodge is to be closed and demolished. The decision is part of a plan to remove all major development from the Rim to near the Park entrance. “The 68 year old lodge is so poorly built and so badly deteriorated that it cannot be rehabilitated for use as an overnight lodge. The structure will be razed only after it has further deteriorated.” All accommodations, roads and parking lots are to be rebuilt in Munson Valley at a cost of $5 million.

Opposition grows against the planned destruction of a “much loved” building.

August 2

The Klamath Falls Herald and News reports that the excessive camping fee of $8 plus for a family per night has been keeping people out of Mazama Campground. Superintendent Benton requests the Lodge Company to reduce the rate to a flat $6 per night.

August 3

Superintendent Benton declares Crater Lake is the “toughest park” in which to live. “We need to do everything we can to alleviate the negatives of living at Crater Lake. When Klamath Falls and Medford have turned to Spring, the mere fact that you can look out and know it is Spring everywhere but at Crater Lake is very stressful.” (K.F. H&N)

Superintendent Benton question the appropriateness of the Crater Lake Rim “I’m bothered by the disruption of normal visitation. There is a lot of internal controversy within the park as to its legality. You are closing the park specifically for a special interest group.” (H&N)

August 10

Chris Ellis, 27, of New York, visits Crater lake and takes a boat ride after riding cross country for six weeks on his bike. Ellis plans to bike down the North Coast of California, and then across Colorado, averaging 80 - 100 miles per day, for a total of 4,600 miles. Chris’s greatest mileage was 408 miles in four days.

August 11

Crater Lake’s 9th annual Rim Run.

6.7 miles Bob Jones, Crater Lake   35.36
      Signe Harrange, Portland   42.23

13.1 miles Russel Morris, Portland  1:18.31
      Connie Reints, Bend  1:36.07

26.2 miles Al Glidden, Klamath Falls  2:40.51
      Leonard Hill, Klamath Falls  2:40.51
      Kathy Parker, of Georgia  3:54.27

August 11

Seasonal Ranger Larry Smith begins wearing a new “Flat Hat” after retiring his old hat of 20 seasons.

August 13

The Energy Siting Council finds that the Crater Lake geothermal drilling sites are inappropriately located and postpones drilling. This decision puts $45,000 in Klamath County drilling revenues in jeopardy.

August 28

Opposition begins to mount opposing the NPS’s decision to demolish the Crater Lake Lodge. A coalition of Oregon non-profit organizations announce plans to fight the demolition decision. The coalition claims that the rehabilitation costs are inflated and erroneous and that the Government’s contention that the Lodge is slipping into the Caldera is unsubstantiated. The group also claims that the agency is allowing an internal department policy to override national environmental policy.

August 29

The U.S.G.S places an oceanographic seismograph in the Lake. A seismograph is also placed at East Lake and one at Paulina Lake, both at Newberry Crater.


Seven Park children begin attending Prospect schools, rather than the Chiloquin schools. Prospect’s four-day school week will cut down on commuting time.


Seasonal Ranger Larry Smith “retires” after working at the Park over a period of 24 years. He and his brother, Lloyd, continue to work as volunteers in the park.

September 17

The NPS selects a design and engineering team headed by the Portland architectural firm of Fletcher, Finch and Ayotto to replace or rehabilitate the Crater Lake Lodge. The team will provide design, planning and engineering services to the Park. The group is required to have a site selected by November 1 for the new Lodge.

October 3

NPS Director Russ Dickerson, announces a new evaluation of the Crater Lake Lodge. “The old lodge is absolutely marvelous. It would be a tragedy if we didn’t try to preserve it. We have reconsidered our recommendation to demolish the structure.”

October 19

The Medford Mail Tribune reports that Sara Jameson, of the Crater Lake Ski Service, quits after providing cross country service for six winters. The ski service wasn’t making enough money to justify continuing and a subcontract agreement couldn’t be reached with the Lodge Company. The concessionaire plans to run the cross country program this winter. (Which they discontinued during the winter of 1996.)

October 30

4th highest recorded lake level since 1892.


A snowfall of 157 inches is recorded during the month.

December 14

BLM state director approves the drilling of four test holes near the East park boundary. The U.S. Forest Service concurs. The Oregon Natural Resources Council files a strong protest. “We will see a review in the Federal Courts.”

1984 Fiscal Year: 84-85, Park Budget set at $1.7 million

Season Visitation: 499,943


<< 1983   1984   1985 >>



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