History of Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park
Segment 7-B (Diamond Lake Junction to Grotto Cove)
Even if wayside exhibits seemed to be the most ubiquitous addition resulting from Mission 66 to Rim Drive, they remained scarcely in evidence along the northern part of the circuit. One of these interpretive devices could be seen at the so-called Cleetwood “backflow,” in the masonry guardrail, across from where wind erosion on the cut slope created during rough grading had resulted in chronic raveling. The other wayside exhibit attempted to convey the “story” of soil at Palisade Point, but in a somewhat secluded location below the masonry guardrail.
Both picnic areas in segment 7-B followed a standardized road loop designed by the resident landscape architect, John S. Adams, in March 1957. These sites were placed just over a mile apart that summer, with another five tables installed down slope of the parking lot for Cleetwood Cove in 1966. The latter possessed the largest number of tables at any picnic area on Rim Drive, even though it remained the most difficult one for visitors to use. In addition to the walk needed for amenities like toilets and garbage cans situated at the parking area, the site lacked surfaced paths and shade during the midday hours.
Development of a new trail to the lakeshore at Cleetwood Cove with associated parking came in response to the difficulties associated with an existing trail from Rim Village. In addition to the existing trail beginning some 900′ above the water, increased annual visitation to the park after World War II made parking for boat trips and other activities on Crater Lake an additional source of congestion at Rim Village. Cleetwood Cove, by contrast, offered a southern exposure (thereby eliminating much of the hand shoveling required to open a path to the water each spring) and a potential trailhead only 700′ above the lake. Construction of a new trail began in July 1958 so that it became passable the following summer, but regrading of steep sections and other work delayed full completion of this day labor project until September 1962.
Parking at the Cleetwood Cove trailhead initially consisted of simply widening the road shoulders, but this solution quickly became inadequate. The resident landscape architect, Joseph T. Clark, produced a site plan in July 1961 that called for a parking lot holding 100 cars. He proposed an assembly area at the trailhead, one to be separated from the road by metal guardrail. The plan also called for an elongated parking area across Rim Drive from the trailhead, oriented perpendicular to the road instead of parallel. With an adequate entranceway, the parking lot site would also be large enough to allow development of a picnic area with some thirty tables or even a campground. The initial plan called for a plumbed restroom (comfort station) and septic system, though this facility and the proposed drinking fountains depended upon locating a supply of water. In the absence of springs or other sources, contractors began drilling a well in 1962. It remained dry even after a second attempt at locating a potable water supply three years later.
Grading the lot above Cleetwood Cove began in the fall of 1961, but lack of water effectively limited development of amenities other than parking to portable toilets and five picnic tables. These facilities became inadequate as the number of boat tours increased over the next two decades, so landscape architect Joe Dunstan sketched several alternatives aimed at relieving poor circulation and overcrowding in 1991, primarily as a starting point in design. Little in the way of changes resulted from this effort, with the only additional development at the site resulting from a spillage problem associated with fuel delivery to the tour boats. The Fee Demonstration Program thus funded construction of a fuel transfer building situated between the parking lot and Rim Drive in 1998.