Nature Notes

Volume IV No. 1 - July, 1931

A Challenge
By Frank Solinsky, Park Ranger

white pine tree

It is the ambition of most persons and corporations to hold a distinctive record of one kind or another. Nature has amply provided Crater Lake National Park with abundant material which, we believe, surpasses any similar phenomena to be found elsewhere. To continue in such a braggart tone is not congruent with the policy of the Park Service. Therefore, with an assumed modesty, we make public the facts concerning a gigantic tree.

This tree, a white pine (Pinus monticolae), stands in the east slope of the Middle Fork of Annie Creek. Measurements were taken in accordance with the Spaulding rule as provided in their log tables and revealed the following figures:

The circumference, breast height - 28 ft. 2 in.
The total height - 140 ft.
The tree is probably about 1,000 years old.

The Middle Fork, as do the rest of the creeks in the park, runs through a deep water and wind eroded canyon. The great age of this tree provides an unusual opportunity for the study of this erosion. The roots of the tree are well covered by soil and there is no indication of ground creep. On the other side of the canyon, we find trees in various stages of subversion. Some have toppled down into the creek below while others, with their roots exposed, have the appearance of standing on stilts. The curvature of some of these trees indicates the presence of ground creep. The one-sided erosion of the canyon can be attributed to the creek which runs under the west slope.

The Location Of Crater Lake National Park
By Earl U. Homuth, Senior Park Naturalist

When William G. Steel (Father of Crater Lake National Park) first came to the lake in 1885 he made the decision to do all in his power to have the lake preserved as a national park, a purpose to which he devoted the next seventeen years of his life.

Upon his return to Portland he immediately petitioned President Cleveland to set aside ten townships from settlement. Since no survey of this portion of Oregon had been made, Mr. Steel guessed as to the area which would include the lake and then a portion of the surrounding territory. His petition was acted upon by presidential proclamation the area designated as Mr. Steel was reserved.

In 1886, again upon petition of Mr. Steel the Geological Survey sent a field party, under the direction of Capt. Dutton, to make a survey of the region and soundings of the lake. Mr. Mark Kerr, for whom Kerr Notch is named, was chief topographer of the party.

One evening after considerable progress had been made in the preparation of the map, Mr. Kerr called Mr. Steel to his tent. He had the unfinished map before him. He casually asked Mr. Steel "How did you decide what area was to be set aside for your park?" "I had to guess at it", Steel answered. "We had not authentic maps." "Well", Kerr answered laughingly. "Do you want it this way?" and he showed Steel where the eastern boundary of the proposed park cut across what is now Dutton Cliff to near Cleatwood Cove, excluding the east one third of the lake.

Mr. Steel was considerably surprised and somewhat disturbed by this revelation. But Mr. Kerr dispelled his worries by assuring him that he would fix the boundaries himself.

The line was drawn to include Scott Peak on the east, the many cones and craters, the interesting canyons cut in tuff south of the lake and the Pumice Desert on the north and the slope of Mount Mazama to the west. The total area is 249 square miles.

Click on the image to see a copy of the original page of this article (~100K) W.G. Steel
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