why do we protect Crater Lake? why did we make it a national park?

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Early settlers and explorers did not hear about Crater Lake from the native inhabitants because this place is sacred to most Native Americans of Oregon and northern California. Makalaks (now Klamath Indians) held the belief that this place was so holy that looking upon it would lead to death. There are no stories relating to the crystal blue lake that formed after the eruption, indicating that these people became silent on the issue of Mount Mazama, the mountain that was no longer.

    Even today, some Native Americans choose not to view Crater Lake. Its beauty and mystery form a religious context. As you explore this place of earthly violence and unearthly quiet, honor its sacred qualities.


    In the spring of 1853, eleven miners from Yreka, California stopped for supplies at Isaac Skeeter’s mercantile store in Jacksonville, Oregon (approximately 90 miles southwest of Crater Lake). They began bragging that they knew how to find the legendary “Lost Cabin” gold mine. Skeeters quickly gathered up ten other Oregonians and set out, using the information overheard in his store. The trip was financed by John Wesley Hillman, a 21 year old who had recently returned home from a successful trip to the California goldfields.

    On June 12, three members from this party came upon a large body of water sitting in a huge depression. Hillman exclaimed that it was the bluest water he had ever seen. Skeeters suggested the name “Deep Blue Lake.”

    Lack of provisions soon drove the miners down the mountains and back to Jacksonville where they reported the discovery of the lake. However, with no prospect of gold and fear of the unknown region to the northeast, there was no interest in confirming this discovery. It was soon forgotten.

    Naming a Natural Wonder

    In 1862, another party of Oregon prospectors explored this area of the Cascade Range, including Crater Lake. The leader, Chauncy Nye, later wrote a short article for the Jacksonville Oregon Sentinel. His article stated, “The waters were of a deeply blue color causing us to name it Blue Lake.” This is the first published description of the lake.

    In the 1850s, hostilities between settlers and Native Americans developed in the area. In response, the U.S. Army established Fort Klamath seven miles southeast of the present park boundary in 1863. This led to the construction of a wagon road from Prospect in the Rogue River Valley to the newly established Fort Klamath. On August 1, 1865, the lake was “rediscovered” by two hunters attached to the road crews. Several soldiers and civilians journeyed to see the now-legendary lake. One of the participants, Sergeant Orsen Stearns, was so awestruck by what he saw that he climbed down into the caldera and became the first non-Native American to reach the shore of Crater Lake. Captain F.B. Sprague soon joined him and suggested the name “Lake Majesty.”

    In July 1869, newspaper editor Jim Sutton and several others decided to visit Lake Majesty and explore it by boat. By August, a canvas boat had been constructed and lowered onto the lake. Five people reached Wizard Island and spent several hours exploring the cinder cone. Sutton wrote an article describing the trip for his Jacksonville newspaper. Instead of Lake Majesty, Sutton substituted the name “Crater Lake.”

    A National Park

    In 1870, a young man from Kansas named William Gladstone Steel unwrapped his lunch, carefully contained in a newspaper. As he ate, he read an article about an unusual lake in Oregon. The story sparked Steel’s imagination and he vowed to see the lake for himself someday.

    Two years later, Steel’s family moved to Portland, Oregon; but another thirteen years passed before Steel finally gazed upon the beauty of Crater Lake. He was so moved that he decided that it should forever be a public park. His seventeen year quest to see Crater Lake established as a national park had begun.

    In 1886, Steel assisted with the mapping of the lake, which had been undertaken by Clarence Dutton for the U. S. Geological Survey. During the original survey, soundings of the lake were conducted using pipe and piano wire. The maximum depth determined by the survey was 1,996 feet (608 meters), only 53 feet off from the sonar measurement of 1,943 feet officially recorded in 1958.

    Steel's proposals to create a national park met with much argument from sheep herders and mining interests. A fledgling U.S. conservation movement began in the late 1800’s, greatly aiding Steel’s efforts by prompting awareness of preserving natural areas. In 1893, the lake received some protection as part of the Cascade Range Forest Reserve. For Steel, this was not good enough. He continued to work, and on May 22, 1902, Crater Lake finally became a national park.

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  • 3 years ago

    confident, and it is not close to to a mapquest for information. yet you're finding at an entire day of traveling to get from Ptlnd. to Crater Lake. Off the proper of my head, i could say it is an 8 hour force or so. it is attractive..yet a brilliant style of the park is closed as quickly as the snow hits.they do no longer even completely reopen till very previous due spring or perhaps into summer, counting on the snow soften.

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