National Park Service Recommends Wilderness

What do places like Yosemite, Olympic, Joshua Tree and Zion have that Crater Lake does not? Wilderness protection!


The Caldera. Photo by Adam Jewell

The National Park Service has been advocating for Wilderness protection in the back
country of Crater Lake National Park since the 1970’s. Facing continuous development proposals throughout the decades, those responsible for managing the park have wanted to safeguard the tranquility, natural beauty and wildlife that call this landmark home.

“I feel it is timely to seek your assistance in completing the unfinished legislative action to establish the Wilderness in Crater Lake National Park…Yet here we are, some 30 plus years, and no legislative action has occurred on this formal recommendation.” – Former Crater Lake National Park Superintendent James Rouse, in a 2009 letter to Senator Ron Wyden

The Crater Lake Wilderness would not impact any existing roads, buildings, or existing infrastructure, and the park would continue to be managed as it is today. The only difference is that the pristine backcountry would be preserved in its current state for years to come.

Plaikni Falls. A shutter priority image I finally was able to get right after so many attempts. I used a variable ND filter I had on a 50mm Nikkor lens. I'd seen many other capture that milky look of water in motion over the years. Here I visualized a setting with the falls and a surrounding variety of colors in the nearby trees and plant growth.

Plaikni Falls inside Crater Lake National Park, an area that would be protected by the proposal. Photo by Mark Stevens

Only Congress can designate Wilderness areas, but in certain circumstances the managing agency (BLM, U.S. Forest Service or National Park Service) can recommend an area to Congress for protection as a Wilderness area. The National Park Service first recommended 150,000 acres of Wilderness within the back country of the park in 1970. Park Service officials have subsequently modified and updated this recommendation to Congress several times.

Despite the longstanding Wilderness recommendation from the Park Service, Congress has failed to act. As the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016, the time come for congress to act.