Smith Brothers 1991

January 17
A federal official has ordered the suspension of geothermal exploration on the east boundary of Crater Lake. This supports the fear that exploratory drilling would tap into the source of the warm water that feeds the lake and could mar the Lake’s clarity. Noise from the drilling operation could effect wildlife in the area.

The “Mazama Tree” is uncovered in a landfill by the Klamath County Dept. of Public Works. The tree is found standing upright-where it had stood for the past 7,690 years. Hundreds of charred logs have been found, tumbled and buried by the glowing avalanches of Mt. Mazama, but this is the first such tree found that was covered so fast and sealed, the wood was preserved without being burned. The old Ponderosa pine (other accounts say cedar) looks and feels like it had been taken from a fresh tree. The 28 foot log was found standing upright, 35 feet below the surface. Four other tree wells have been uncovered in the area, but the wells were empty. The heat from the super hot pumice had literally vaporized the wood. The pine log was found to be approximately 300 years old at the time of encasement, 7,690 years ago.

1990 – 1991
Snowfall: 379 inches.

The first phase of the Lodge rehabilitation project begins. Will cost $2.8 million. The “Great Hall”, the center of the oldest section has deteriorated so bad, the middle section has to be completely dismantled, including the stone walls and the giant stone fireplace. Large cement foundation walls are poured and the stone work is reapplied as a veneer. By building 10 to 20 foot cement walls, stability is added to the center section. The remaining two end sections will be tied to the cement sections, thus helping to stabilize the wings of the building. The two wings will be reconstructed during phase two. Designers are targeting a 1925 look.

Superintendent Robert Benton retires from the Park Service. Ben Ladd, Superintendent of John Day Fossil Beds, serves as Acting Superintendent until October.

September 8
Former President Carter visits Crater Lake. At 2:30 p.m. he stops by the Administration Building, then stops at Discovery Point briefly before leaving the Park.

Searchers spend three weeks slogging through four feet of snow looking for Glenn Allen Mackie, 33, of Brea, California. Snow had begun falling when Mackie’s car was first noticed in the parking lot. It contained his driver’s license, keys, passport, cash and toiletries. No trace of the man was ever found.

October 16
David Morris EOD’s as Crater Lake’s 23rd superintendent. Ben Ladd, superintendent of the John Day Fossil Beds served this past summer as acting superintendent. Mr. Morris comes to Crater Lake from southeast Utah, where he served as assistant superintendent of a group of national parks, including Canyonlands, Arches and Natural Bridges NM. Morris says he is not coming to the Park with “any agenda from on high” but will emphasize resource protection and providing for visitor use. Morris wants Crater Lake to become more “user-friendly”. Mr. Morris began his NPS career 31 years ago working at Crater Lake as a seasonal fire guard.

October 18
A plugged sewer line causes a sewage spill into Munson Creek. The spill entered the creek channel about a half mile above Park Headquarters.

October 26
The 1988 Rim expansion and rehabilitation figure of $30 million has ballooned to $66.2 million. Lawmakers are complaining that the project has gotten too big and expensive. Park officials are preparing a list of options that include cutting down on the scope of the building program. This means the elimination of the multilevel parking structure, a shuttle bus system, comfort stations and a new concessionaire’s dorm.

Dr. Charlie Bacon’s radiocarbon age date for Mazama climatic eruption originally placed at 6845 BP is recalibrated to 7700 caldera years Before Present.

November 30
The NPS takes another look at plans for building a year-round hotel on the Rim of Crater Lake after the price tag doubles in three years. Congress balks at the funding, especially after spending $21 restoring the historic Lodge. Originally. the plan was to tear out Rim Village, build an 80-unit hotel and activity center on the site of the existing cafeteria and gift shop, remove the parking lot, restore the site to natural conditions and build another lot a quarter-mile down the hill that would be served by shuttle bus. Then the old lodge was to be restored. But because of its crumbling condition, restoration of the lodge was begun first. The total price tag for the Rim Development has been estimated at $66 million. The NPCA, a conservation group that lobbies against commercialization of national parks hopes to capitalize on the growing cost and kill the project.

December 31
Due to the prolonged drought, new data places Crater Lake’s annual precipitation at 64 inches, down from the previous average of 69 inches.

Fiscal Year 1991
Park ONPS budget set at $2.1 million. The first year the park operation has exceeded $2 million.

Season Visitation: 525,441 a 20% increase from last year and the largest visitation for 10 years.


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