The Botanists at Crater Lake National Park by Elizabeth L. Horn
Kalmiopsis Volume 12, 2005 31
Crater Lake National Park is well known for its geological gem, the deep blue lake. It is less well known for its botanical treasures. Early botanists had the pleasure of exploring, identifying, and characterizing its species and plant communities. Although CLNP is relatively small by national park standards (about 250 square miles), it teems with a diverse flora. Ranging from 4,000 feet in elevation in the southwest corner to the nearly 9,000 foot Mount Scott along the eastern rim of the lake, CLNP straddles the Cascade crest with plant communities representing both the western and eastern slopes. Much of the lake’s rim holds snow well into the summer and water flows through porous lava to create spectacular wildflower displays in the dry forest. Current botanical programs, built on knowledge accumulated by the park’s earlier botanists, emphasize preservation and ecology: whitebark pine, plant associations, succession, and fire ecology. CLNP is an ideal outdoor laboratory in a breathtakingly awesome setting. A magical place to botanize–that’s Crater Lake National Park.