Smith Brothers 1968

Winter 1967-68 Record low snowfall of 365 inches. Lake level falls .11 inch, the first measurable decrease of the Lake’s level during the winter months.

A new Ranger boat is slid down to the Lake, West of Rim Village. The boat was removed by helicopter in 1972 and sold to Olympic National Park.

A sailplane originating from Seattle, attempting to set a world’s distance record, narrowly escapes crashing into Crater Lake, and instead sets down 1/4 mile from the Rim, near Cloud Cap. The plane was air- lifted out by helicopter to Fort Klamath several days later. The pilot had to be rescued by rangers on snowmobiles. The pilot’s wife had been following the sailplane in a chase car out on Highway 97 and contacted Park officials after learning of her husband’s location by radio. Up drafts from Mt. Rainier had given the sailplane an exceptionally high starting elevation, but a down draft from Crater Lake brought the plane down.

June 15
Two 17 year old teenage boys from Michigan are stranded on a cliff, 300 feet below Garfield Peak while attempting to climb down to the Lake. Attempts to rescue the boys from above fail because of the danger of knocking loose dangerous rocks. Immediate rescue by helicopter was impossible because of the lack of light, but two sleeping bags are tossed to the two stranded hikers in order to make their night more comfortable on their seven foot long ledge. The two are airlifted off the next morning. The boys refuse to pay the rescue bill of several thousand dollars, but try to cash in on their experience when the wire services send their story out national wide.

June 16
Elaine Davenport and Bruce Hanklen of Medford are married in the Community Building at Rim Village.

Ranger Nancy Jarrell and a group of Park employees investigate the North Junction Cave. The cave had been uncovered when the North Road was built back in the 20’s. For over 40 years the lava tube cave had been covered over by planks. Nancy crawls and slithers 500 feet into the lava tube. After getting cold and wet, the group turns around. Nancy reports that the cave showed no evidence of ending. The Park’s road crew later plugs the cave’s entrance with a truck load of rock.

July 28
The Douglas County Pelicans conduct the first organized SCUBA dive in Crater Lake. The Club dives to about 100 feet.

August 30
The body of murder victim, George S. Mear of Florida, is found by a family camped at Mazama Campground, while out searching for fire wood. Mear was apparently beaten and stabbed to death outside of the Park, stuffed into a sleeping bag liner and dumped just off the access road into the Pole Bridge gravel quarry. Mear had just been mustered out of the Army and was spending the summer traveling across the country with hopes of landing a job somewhere by fall. The FBI determined that Mear had been dead for about 3 days and that he had eaten a Chinese dinner prior to his death. His stolen car, minus his camping equipment and camera was found several weeks later on a side street in Fresno, California, with his camera equipment showing up in a pawn shop. No motive has been established and the case has not been solved.

When Billy Baker, the first ranger on the scene radioed that the victim was a male, Dispatcher Larry Smith asked how he knew this. Baker, rather impatiently radioed back, “I can see the hair on his legs” (sticking out of the sleeping bag liner).

As an experiment, the NPS campgrounds at the Everglades and Crater Lake National Parks are turned over, for the first time, to their respective park concessionaires. Following extreme and adverse public reaction and complaints, the two campgrounds are returned to the National Park Service the following year.

Larry and Lloyd Smith, seasonal rangers, begin compiling an Important Event Log of Crater Lake National Park.
Richard Brown bands 14 Clark’s Nutcrackers.

The “Paul Herron” lake launch is completed by Portland boat builder, Rudy Wilson on Wizard Island and takes her maiden voyage around the Lake. Work begins on a second lake launch. All materials, including the engines, are flown in by helicopter.

December 27
Several Clark’s Nutcrackers are sighted in Rim Village that had been banded, July 30, 1950. This gives Crater Lake a World’s Record for a Nutcracker of at least 17 years, 4 months and 28 days, with an additional unknown period from hatching to banding. Also sighted were birds with a minimum longevity of 16, years, 9 months, and 17 days (banded July 31, 1952) and 14 years, ten months and 17 days (banded August 1, 1952). The three birds were even more bold and docile than their younger neighbors. Since these birds have had a long history of feeding on visitor handouts of peanuts, potato chips and bread, maybe junk food is good for them after all.

A Phillips and Van Denburgh study finds that the Lake has a volume of 17.3 x 1000000000 cubic meters of water. There is an annual supply of 11.1 x 10000000 cubic meters, with evaporation removing 3.1 x 1000000 (40%) and a seepage loss of 7.9 x 1000000 cubic meters (60%). Seepage annually removes 6.35 x 1000000000 grams of dissolved solids.

Season Visitation: 478,271

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