Nature Notes


Mr. E. C. Solinsky
Mr. D. S. Libbey
Park Naturalist
July, 1933 Vol. VI, No. 2

This publication is issued during April, July, August and September each year for the purpose of recording observations and making known the results of research and scientific investigation concerning the natural history of Crater Lake National Park. It is under the jurisdiction of the Research and Education Staff and is supplemental to the lectures, field excursions and other services. Publications using these notes please give credit to the author and to Crater Lake National Park Nature Notes.



Watchman Viewpoint Station: This station is a combined museum and observation station which is manned by a Ranger-Naturalist during the period each summer in which there is danger of forest fires. A range finder is available to aid in viewing distant objects. From this vantage point a complete 360 degree panorama can be obtained. It is one of the strategic points from which to view Crater Lake, the remnants of the old mountain, the Klamath Basin to the east, Rogue Valley to the west and the Diamond Lake region to the north. Marvelous views are obtained from this station at any time. A sunset visitation is particularly fascinating. To reach this station drive 3-1/2 miles to the northwest side of the Watchman then take a twelve minute walk up a fine mountain trail to the summit.

The Snow Accumulation Of 1907 Compared To That Of 1933
By Earl W. Count, Ranger-Naturalist

"At Park Headquarters the snowfall for the winter measured 73 feet 3 inches, and the Rim Area probably received from 1/4 to 1/3 again as much."

To which responds the "whew-w-w" of the visitor; whereupon the ranger adds in a loftily casual manner, "Yes, we are getting back to normal."

In the Information Bureau there hangs a picture of the party given on Victor Rock in honor of Secretary of the Interior James Garfield. The date is July 18, 1907. On July 12, 1933, several ranger-naturalists compared the background of this picture with the current conditions. Patch for patch the snowfields were very readily identified on Mt. Scott and Garfield Peak. And immediately it became obvious that on July 18, 1907 more snow remained on the slopes than still existed on July 12, 1933.

How Fast Is The Rim Retreating?
By Earl W. Count

Immediately behind the group in the photograph stand three trees close together. But today they are gone. The stump of one now projects over the rim of the funnel-like amphitheater immediately east of the Information Bureau. According to Judge Steel, the present U. S. Commissioner and affectionately called "The Father of Crater Lake", who gave the party on that day in 1907, there was at that time ten feet more of rim, as well as the now vanished three trees.

At the head of this amphitheater the rim area itself is depressed, so that melting snow from the rim drains off over the amphitheater-shaped rim slope. The concentration of this water into several streamlets affords those frequent landslides at this time which attract the attention of visitors and cause them to lean out over the parapet at the Sinnott Memorial. So works the relentless erosive forces of Nature gradually accomplishing the recession of the rim of Crater Lake. Undoubtedly it is this unevenness in the distribution of morainal material over the rim area that accounts for the formation of the amphitheater in the first place. In the course of the ages to come, probably such amphitheaters as this will father the development of steep, V-shaped valleys converging upon a shallower "Crater Lake"; and that lake of the future will occupy but the center of a much broader, shallower basin-valley than the rugged precipices of Crater Lake now enclose.

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