Notes from the National Park Vagabond: Crater Lake National Park

Sep 07, 2016

This year the TR Center is joining with Valerie Naylor, former superintendent of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, to hunt out the TR related collections in parks dedicated by him. “My goal is to get items that are critical but that we haven’t seen before,” Naylor states. We will post updates of her travels and finds.

In August, I visited Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, the first of five national parks signed into law during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency. I found interesting documents in the collection, including articles about a controversial photo that many people believed showed a portly Theodore Roosevelt sitting on a rock at Crater Lake. TR never visited the park, before or after it was created, and the photo is of another man with glasses and a mustache. When the mistake was revealed, it was big news in many newspapers.  

There was also an interesting controversy about TR being nominated to be a member of the Mazamas, a hiking club that requires all members to climb a peak with at least one glacier. At least one person did not believe the President qualified to join, and resigned his membership over it. TR climbed the Matterhorn on his honeymoon. I would think that would count! 

The park collection includes letters from the park’s champion, William Gladstone Steel, and other supporters discussing Theodore Roosevelt’s interest in creating the national park. All of these items will become part of the TR Center collection.

I grew up in Oregon, and my first visit to Crater Lake was in August 1976. I was surprised to wake up in the morning to 3 inches of snow. It did not snow on me this August, but I did see some snow along the lakeshore and along the roads. It can snow any month of the year at Crater Lake. 

Crater Lake National Park was established on May 22, 1902.  It includes the deepest lake in North America (approximately 1943 feet), and perhaps the cleanest large body of water in the world. The deep blue of the lake is almost unbelievable. If you haven’t seen it in person, I hope you will plan a trip soon.

Crater Lake

A Crater Lake inhabitant showing off the beauty of the area.

Posted by Valerie Naylor on Sep 07, 2016 in History  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)  |  Share this post

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