Nature Notes

Volume XIII No. 1 - October, 1947

Pacific Marten
By O. L. Wallis, Ranger-Naturalist

A Pacific Marten or American Sable, Martes caurina caurina (Merriam), was discovered killed by an auto on the North Entrance highway, one mile south of the Pumice Desert, on July 31 by Seasonal Ranger George Swan. Because of its agility and swiftness it is seldom that one of this beautiful species is reported to be killed by a motor vehicle.

The specimen was made into a study skin. It is dark yellowish brown in color with darker tail and feet and with a yellow-orange throat and chest patch. Although it was a female, the marten was not pregnant nor was it lactating. The measurements of this female were:

Total length:443 mm
Tail length:182 mm
Hind foot:80 mm
Ear pinna:37 mm

Pacific martens range in distribution from southern British Columbia to northern California. They are primarily forest dwellers and are expert tree climbers. The high value of its fur makes the marten one of the most valuable furbearers of Oregon, where it is now being protected. Within the Crater Lake National Park, the marten is protected with all other forms of wildlife. Park Naturalist George C. Ruhle, who has worked or made studies in many National Parks, avers that he believes that this is the best park of all for study and observation of these attractive members of the Weasel Family.

Wolf! Wolf!
By Dr. G. C. Ruhle, Park Naturalist


Reports frequently come to the office about wolves being seen within the boundaries of Crater Lake National Park. These are always subject to skepticism and questioning, so no effort is spared if there is opportunity to authenticate, confirm, or disprove the observation.

On Friday, January 10, Assistant Superintendent Parker reported that he had seen a huge timber wolf along the road near the old south boundary. The description passed on to me averred that his estimate of the size of the animal included: 125 pounds of weight and 18 inches high at the shoulder. On Saturday, January 11, I went down to the site of the observation to investigate. There were tracts of a canine animal which measured 3-/12 inches long, exclusive of the claw marks; the distance between tracks was 10-1/2 inches. A very light snow had fallen, so they could not be described as "fresh" tracks.

It is worthy to mention that I assisted in making a survey for a park waterline near this site last October. At that time the caretaker of Crater Lake Lodge, William E. Armstrong, told the naturalist that he and George Hopper, surveyor and former park engineer, had seen a large police dog within the park which apparently had gone wild. The location of this observation was not far to the south from the old boundary. It is possible that the animals in the two instances are identical.

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