34 The Army Corps of Engineers Road System

History of Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park


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The Army Corps of Engineers Road System


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Persistent dust and the recurring expense of having to regrade the roads every year prompted a report on the availability of material for surfacing from a special inspector representing the Department of the Interior in 1910. He thought careful selection of hard volcanic rock next to the roads might yield enough material for macadam, but recommended that little or no money should be expended for this purpose until a comprehensive plan for park roads was in place. Location surveys funded through the Army Corps of Engineers that summer made the inspector optimistic that funding for road building might follow that would include the three phases of grading, surfacing, and paving. The first in a series of annual appropriations for construction did not become available until 1913, at which point Arant recommended the money be spent for building good roads from the west and south entrances. Use on those roads was far greater than any other routes into the park, he reasoned, and would be “for some time to come.” The Army Corps of Engineers nevertheless maintained control on where those funds were expended, and they chose to begin their work by transporting supplies to Kirk, a rail stop located east of the park. Road building would thus begin at a new “east entrance” near the pinnacles on Wheeler Creek and then proceed in a northwestern direction to a junction at Lost Creek, where the Rim Road circuit commenced.