Today on the Land Use Trail: Crater Lake

Throughout the year, we'll be featuring stops on our Land Use Trail. Today, November 20: Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States and an icon of Oregon.

About: There is perhaps no more iconic Oregon place than Klamath County's Crater Lake. Known for its clear, blue water in a deep bowl formed about 7,700 years ago through the collapse of Mount Mazama, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States at an average of 1,148 ft deep. Due to the lake’s amazing nature and history, it is Oregon’s first federally protected land and is a true treasure in every Oregonian’s eyes. After intense grassroots lobbying by citizens like William Gladstone Steel, it became the nation's fifth national park under President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, and remains the only such park in Oregon.

Key Fact: In 1988 and 1989, scientists explored the bottom of Crater Lake in a 7,000-pound manned submarine called Deep Rover. The submarine helped bring about new discoveries about thermal vents on the lake’s floor, as well as further understanding of the lake’s unique flora and fauna. Read a first-hand account of this incredible work here.

 Another Cool Fact: Crater Lake Lodge was built on the crater rim in 1915, about 1,000 feet above the lake. Although the park attracted many visitors, by the 1980s the building was badly deteriorated due to lack of funds, and was scheduled for demolition. After public outcry and an emergency closing of the Lodge’s Great Hall, the building was finally renovated and reopened in May 1995. Although it still looks like a 1920s building, it was completely gutted and upgraded during the renovations.


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See the whole Land Use Trail, featuring exceptional Oregon natural places, communities, and working lands from every corner of our state.

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Text by Laura Waddick, Communications Intern. Photo by Daniel Doan, via Flickr. Creative Commons.