Resources 1984 – Q. Park Boundaries

Historic Resource Study, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 1984

VI. Steps Leading Toward Establishment of Crater Lake National Park

 

Q. Park Boundaries

In 1914 the northward extension of Crater Lake National Park to include Diamond Lake, a popular fishing resort twenty miles away in the Umpqua National Forest, and Mount Thielsen, was proposed by the park superintendent. Legislation to this effect was first introduced on April 6, 1918, by Senator Charles McNary of Oregon as Senate Bill 4283, 65th Congress. The primary purpose of the proposal was the transfer of a tract of more than 92,000 acres to the National Park Service for inclusion within Crater Lake National Park. Future plans for the additional land would include its development as an important fishing resort, expansion of camping facilities, and other recreational features to be added later.

The feeling of the director of the National Park Service was that,

like the proposed extension of the Yellowstone National Park, the addition of the Diamond Lake region to Crater Lake would give to the national park system something that was intended by nature always to be the property of the Nation and to be developed as a recreational area for all the people. [48]

The bill passed the Senate on April 5, 1920, and was referred to the House. At that point, Secretary Edwin T. Meredith of the Agriculture Department sent a letter to Chairman Nicholas Sinnott of the House Committee on Public Lands opposing the measure based on certain projected economic uses of the region that he felt overshadowed its scenic and recreational values. These economic plans included grazing, possible use of the lake as a storage reservoir, and some limited commercial lumbering. The secretary felt strongly that

this lake is no different whatever from many other lakes within the National Forests. It has no particular scenic value, nor is it an unusual lake in any respect as is the Crater Lake. It is not especially valuable for scenic attraction, nor is it such a natural phenomena. . . .

It was Meredith’s opinion that the recreational possibilities of the area “can just as efficiently and more economically be handled under National Forest management. . . .”[49]

The appearance of this official opposition and objections by sportsmen on the local level effectively killed the proposal by ensuring its disapproval by the House. Diamond Lake, which had been stocked with rainbow trout by the state of Oregon, ultimately became one of the greatest fishing spots in the region, harboring on its shores the largest rainbow trout egg-taking station on the continent, producing over seventeen million trout eggs annually. [50]

Although the question of Diamond Lake’s future was kept alive and was the subject of many discussions for several more years, it was finally announced in 1926 that

the president[‘s] co-ordination committee, considering the inclusion of Diamond lake in Crater National Park, decided against the inclusion by a unanimous vote. . . . In a brief speech . . Congressman H.W. Temple of Pennsylvania, chairman, stated that the committee was still considering the alteration of the boundaries of Crater National park but that recommendation designating new areas to be taken in would not include Diamond lake. [51]

The park boundaries as established in 1902 have remained essentially the same except for a short southward extension of 2-1/2 miles along the approach road added in 1926 to preserve in its virgin state a narrow strip of ponderosa pines.

On December 19, 1980, Congress approved the addition of 23,000 acres to Crater Lake National Park. This land was transferred to the park by the U.S. Forest Service in an attempt to preserve it as part of the American wilderness system.

fig10

Illustration 10. “Map Showing the Proposed Enlargement of the Crater Lake National Park.” From Report of the Director of the National Park Service, 1918.

 

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