05 Park Headquarters 1941-Present

Cultural Landscape Recommendations: Park Headquarters at Munson Valley, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon


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Lower group of employee residences along the spur road looking north, 1940’s

Vint, Sager, Lange and others were against using Munson Valley as a year-round headquarters area, recommending instead that a suitable site at lower elevation be developed. However, after WW II, year- round operations at Munson Valley began, although winter occupancy was not officially approval until 1982. This was a major shift in the function of the area and had tremendous impact on the designed historic landscape. Landscape features including curbing, planting beds, porches, and narrow roads with curves were all seen as obstacles to the snow plow. Structures with steeply pitched roofs tended to dump snow close to the building preventing access and requiring the addition of tunnels on a seasonal basis.

Lower group of employee residences on the spur road, rear view, 1990

In 1954 all of the planters, lawns, and walks around the employee cottages were removed to accommodate the snow plow. The traffic island near the upper group of cottages was also removed to allow turning radius for the snow plow. Roads throughout the district were widened. The utility building, which had enclosed the maintenance area was removed in order to allow snow plow access through the entire area. This building was later replaced by a machine shop in 1966.

View south along spur road showing typical post WW II snow tunnel addition and widened road bed, 1990

Additional changes included the obliteration of the old access road to the site, construction of a new gas station across the road from the existing one, which was later removed, and realignment of the intersection with Munson Road. The now abandoned second gas station will be removed in 1992. The Firehall was removed in 1969 and the Oil House was removed in 1990. In 1986, the Ranger Dorm and the Administration Building were rehabilitated. A permanent snow tunnel was added to the west side of the Administration Building replacing the south entrance tunnel built in 1958. A snow tunnel was also added to the east side of the Ranger Dorm. Despite the loss of plant materials and landscape detail in the administrative complex due to the adaptation of Munson Valley for winter use, the infrastructure of the original designed landscape is still evident. The site as a whole remains a good example of the Rustic style.