History of Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park
Annie Spring vicinity
Much like they had at Rim Village and Park Headquarters, NPS landscape architects turned their attention to this site once collaborative planning and design with BPR engineers established the alignment for the road junction and stream crossing. By 1926, planners envisioned a surfaced “plaza area” where Routes 1 and 2 met adjacent to the Annie Creek Bridge, yet they also called for less development in this area in favor of more facilities at Park Headquarters and Rim Village in the future.
One exception was a campground to be located next to the new plaza, where in 1928, the NPS hoped to eventually accommodate 200 visitors. In the mean time, however, officials knew visitors preferred the Rim Campground, so improvements such as surfaced roadways and hardened sites with rustic log tables were centered on it. Annie Spring Campground thus consisted of an informal main parking area flanked by comfort stations and was largely used on an overnight basis by a few visitors who arrived late in the day. CCC laborers built a new comfort station there in 1934 and began clearing a loop road for an expanded campground that summer. Tables and fireplaces for fifteen sites followed over the next three years, so that by 1938, the official park brochure described the Annie Spring Campground as a comfortable alternative (in being situated at a lower elevation) to the larger and more popular Rim Campground.
Reconfiguration of the campground began in September 1956 with the aim of increasing its size to twenty-five sites. Contractors made a longer loop road, one sometimes referenced as Route 12, by moving the intersection with approach roads 300′ further south in conjunction with realigning the Annie Spring road junction. Adding parking loops between the extant fifteen sites and along a slightly extended access road produced the desired expansion, one that included new comfort stations, tables, and fireplaces in 1957. Surfacing to a width of 15′ also took place that summer so the campground could serve visitors displaced by construction associated with reconfiguring the camp facilities at Rim Village. Closure of the Annie Spring Campground came in 1968, in the midst of another road junction realignment, though its facilities had been pressed into service during the intervening decade only when the adjacent Mazama Campground filled to capacity.
Self-imposed limitations by the NPS on a wholesale expansion of the Rim Campground after 1941 stemmed from chronic impacts associated with over use. As annual visitation climbed above 250,000 in the immediate postwar period and then exceeded 370,000 in 1954, the need to develop one large campground away from the rim became more acute. Rather than expand southward from the Annie Spring Campground as envisioned in 1928, the NPS chose to develop a site located across Route 2 and used as CCC Camp Annie Spring from 1934 to 1941.
Grading of the first four campground loops occurred from August to November 1956, concurrent with placement of utilities. Over the following summer, surfacing of the campground roads (referenced collectively as Route 15) occurred at roughly the same time as installation of new tables having concrete bases and metal fireplace grates. Roads in the campground continued to expand with the clearing of a fifth loop in 1960, so that development of forty-five new campsites along it could commence the following July. Like loops A through D, the road that defined E loop had a surfaced width of 15′ due to one-way circulation, though the main two-way access between loops went to 20′. Placement of barrier rocks around the sites finally completed the project in September 1963, only to be followed by construction of two additional loops (F and G) starting in August 1965. The last two loops were bid as a “package,” one containing items such as road construction, extension of utilities, and development of fifty additional campsites. Placement of surfacing material followed by an oil treatment constituted what was virtually the last step in completing the job, one accepted by the NPS during the early part of August 1966.
A prospective realignment of the South Entrance Road adjacent to Mazama Campground that came to pass in 1968-69 allowed planners to consider how to allocate space between the old road location and the new. They initially foresaw adding more than 110 campsites in four new loops to the existing total of 190 in 1966, but two years later opted for a “trailer village” divided into units totaling 100 sites. Public opposition to the trailer village idea helped to stifle any new development there until 1987, when ten new quadriplex units were built to replace cabins demolished in Rim Village two years earlier. Although the concessionaire funded construction of these units, the NPS extended utilities and a service road with two loops to them. The NPS also funded a large parking lot for what it now called “Mazama Village,” (given the new development’s proximity to the campground) one largely aimed at supporting a camper store erected by the concessionaire in 1990.
A contractor began grading another service road in the vicinity during the summer of 1996 as the initial step to building a housing complex for concession employees supposedly displaced by the rehabilitated Crater Lake Lodge. Work completed over the following summer even included the park’s first paved bicycle path, one that joined Mazama Campground with the construction site located across Route 2. It also included two loop roads that provided vehicle access to the central housing and service facility, a satellite dormitory, garage, and sites for recreational vehicles.