08 Land Use

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


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NPS Government Camp, 1939

Historically, the headquarters complex at Munson Valley was organized as a hierarchy of spaces according to land use function and activity. With the exception of seasonal employee housing at Sleepy Hollow to the southwest, residences were grouped in the north end of the site. The Superintendent’s residence and the Naturalist residence, both display site design principles common to the period used in “estate planning” (residential planning). Sited at slope apex the aim was to “suggest openness and freedom, a naturalistic treatment, at least an informal treatment…[where] the lawn is treated as an extension towards the observer of a distant outside view,…making the estate seem larger than it is by merging its boundaries in those of the surrounding country and repeating within the estate planning found in the adjoining scenery.”(3) South of these structures and separated from them by open areas of meadow and pumice fields, the administrative buildings were located in the center of the site.

NPS Government Camp, 1939

This broad level area functioned as the heart of the site, a focal point of activity. Located southwest of the administrative area in the lowest portion of the site are the maintenance and utility areas. During the historic period the maintenance area was closed on three sides, efficient for use during the summer season. In contrast the present layout is two sided, designed to accommodate vehicle parking and winter snow plows. The service oriented function of these structures is reflected by their site location in an outer area of the development away from visitor contact.

This original land use pattern generally continues in the same configuration today. Housing for permanent employees is located at Steel Circle south of the maintenance area, while seasonal employee housing remains at Munson Valley. Although there have been several physical changes to the site over the years (roads widened and visitor and administration services expanded), the primary historic land use patterns have remained intact.