Crater Lake & the Friends
established in 1993
In 1989, the historic Crater Lake Lodge was closed due to severe structural safety concerns. In conjunction with restoration of the Lodge, Superintendent Dave Morris determined that a Friends group would be advantageous to the park.
He envisioned a group of like-minded community members partner with NPS staff to care for the park. Over the next few years he sought out interested people and created an interim board: Chuck Wells, Mary Din, Paul Pearson, Laree Linder, Bev Hartell, Carol Oxley and Wayne Howe. Chief Ranger George Buckingham joined the effort as Liaison between the Park and the Friends. The Friend’s 501(c)(3) and non-profit statuses were established along with bylaws and the newsletter. The first annual meeting was held September 25, 1993. Mary and Frank Erickson and Jack Bennett joined the interim board to form the first Board of Directors. Friends of Crater Lake was official, 93 members strong and committed to the future of Crater Lake National Park.
During the first year, we engaged in a number of projects. Most notably we completed the trail connecting Rim Village with the Pacific Crest Trail. PCT hikers could now easily access the lake and other park amenities. Out of this effort, the tradition of an annual Project Weekend was established.
By October 1994, membership had doubled and Superintendent Morris’ vision of a partnership continued to grow. Chief Interpreter Kent Taylor asked us to take on operating the Winter Rim Desk, serving as volunteer guides and interpreters for the Park’s winter visitors.
Membership had grown to 275 by the 1995 Annual Meeting. We were invited to partner with the Ski Patrol and had begun supporting NPS staff with fire lookout efforts at Mount Scott and Watchman lookouts.
In 1997, as part of the Park’s 80th anniversary, we spearheaded a symposium and an Alumni Reunion.
1998 marked a new relationship with the Park. We took on exclusive responsibility for four programs—Winter Information Desk, Adopt-a-boundary, Adopt-a-Trail and Roving Rim Interpretation—along with the Project Weekend.
In 2002, we began serving as docents for the annual Artist-in-Residence art show, helping NPS staff get the fledgling program off the ground. Today it is a much-anticipated element of Crater Lake summers.
In 2003, a General Agreement allowed us to engage in soliciting and accepting donations and making donations to the park. From interpretive displays to Classroom-in-the-Park transportation, we actively support NPS initiatives each year. That same year, we also worked with NPS staff to install bear lockers in the Lost Creek Campground.
In 2005, a long-held dream to support research and education at the Park came to life. The Park established the Science and Learning Center. We provided financial support, and sponsored Field Seminar Programs. One of the Science and Learning programs is “Classrooms in the Park”, a program that brings elementary students to the Park to complement classroom curriculum.
In 2006 a true Friend of the Park, Greg Hartell, died. In his honor, Park Superintendent Chuck Lundy asked us to take on the challenge of raising $10,000 per year to support the Greg Hartell Internship for Historic Preservation. The goal of a $300,000 endowment was reached in 2012. We continue to raise support for this initiative.
In 2008, we collaborated with former seasonal Park Ranger Larry Smith to develop and produce a number of displays based on common questions asked by winter park visitors.
In 2013, Crater Lake hosted its first Naturalization ceremony for new American citizens. We have become regular supporters of this momentous occasion, providing visitor information, traffic control and refreshments.
In 2015, the Park began “Ride the Rim”, two days of exclusively non-motorized traffic on East Rim Drive. We offer volunteer support and refreshments along the ride as well as provide general information about the park.
In 2016, we helped financially facilitate the creation of a sister park relationships between Crater Lake National Park and Mount Wuyi World Heritage and Cultural Site (in China).
2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. We supported NPS staff throughout the celebrations, particularly the Britt Festival performance at Rim Village. As well, we supported creation of another sister park, this time with Triglav National Park in Slovenia. Barry and Maradee Girt, Board President and Secretary attended the formal signing in Slovenia.
In 2018, the Friends celebrated 25 years of caring for Crater Lake National Park. We published a History of the Friends and distributed copies to members and attendees at the Annual Meeting. We also distributed mugs with the Friends logo, similar to what was done in conjunction with the Lodge Restoration Reopening Celebration.
Crater Lake National Park hosted a delegation from Triglav National Park and reciprocated Triglav’s warm hospitality of 2017. The Friends hosted a luncheon on the Rim for Friends members, Crater Lake National Park employees, members of the Crater Lake Natural History Association and the Triglav delegation.
Learn More About Crater Lake
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