Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is located in the United Sates in southern Oregon and is the fifth established United States national park. The establishment of the park began in 1870, when William Gladstone Steel devoted a large amount of time and money to the area and conducted studies pertaining to the lake and area surrounding it. Steel named many landmarks around Crater Lake including Skell Head and Wizard Island. Steel and his associates pushed Congress to pass the bill establishing Crater Lake as a national park, and along with some of their findings, were able to help the area become a national park in 1902, after President Theodore Roosevelt signed the bill.

Crater Lake was created after Mount Mazama, which is thought to have been formed around 400,000 years ago, collapsed into itself, forming a caldera. Mount Mazama was once 11,000 feet high, but the eruption that occurred in 5700 BC that caused it to collapse reduced its height by 2,500 to 3,500 feet. It released a devastating amount of ash that covered the area around the present day Crater Lake and spread as far as British Columbia. The caldera that was left took about 740 years to fill with water.

Although snowfall is not common in lower areas of western Oregon, it is common at higher elevations and in Crater Lake National Park. The winter season in the park lasts between the months of September to June, with an average of 98 days per season with significant snowfall. By the beginning of spring, the park is typically covered with 10 to 15 feet of snow, but during the months of July to August, most of the snow has melted and the park experiences a beautiful summer. Although Crater Lake National Park is covered with snow for about eight months each year, the lake itself rarely freezes due to a mild flow that originates from the Pacific Ocean.

Crater Lake National Park contains many natural features. The Pumice desert was created when Mount Mazama erupted, leaving a trail of ash that extends in a northern direction. This area is not able to support wildlife, even though the eruption occurred thousands of years ago. Other features of the park include shield volcanoes, like Timber Crater and Crater Peak, and old growth forests that cover fifty thousand acres. The park offers many activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing. Visitors can fish without a license and can catch an unlimited amount of fish regardless of the size or species. Visitors can access the lake from one entry point at Cleetwood Trail or take tours of the lake on boats that were placed there by helicopter. The park is completely open in the summer months, but many trails, including Rim Drive, are closed during the colder winter months.

Image Caption: Aerial view, Crater Lake, Wizard Island, and Mount Scott, as seen from the west. Credit: Mike Doukas/Wikipedia