RANGER ACTIVITIES IN CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK: 1916-PRESENT
The ranger force at Crater Lake National Park consisted of a small staff during the early years under National Park Service administration. In 1917 Superintendent Sparrow reported that the ranger force "consists of one permanent first-class ranger and three rangers for the months of July, August, and September." The principal duties of the rangers were enforcement of park regulations, protection of its resources, prevention and control of forest fires, and operation of the park entrance stations. Two rustic log ranger cabins were constructed in 1917 at the east and west entrances of the park to complement the existing cabin at the south entrance. 
The Crater Lake ranger force expanded in 1918 and 1919. One permanent year-round ranger was stationed at headquarters. In addition three temporary rangers were assigned to mounted patrol during the summer months and three were employed at the checking stations at the park entrances. 
The ranger force and its attendant responsibilities at Crater Lake grew slowly during the 1920s. Superintendent Sparrow reported in 1920 that during the tourist season
As visitation to the park increased the number of temporary park rangers was expanded. In 1924, for instance, the ranger force was increased to nine seasonal rangers under the direction of the permanent ranger employed at park headquarters. 
Despite the growth of the ranger force the responsibilities placed on them led to calls for more rangers. In 1926 Superintendent Thomson reported that an "insufficient ranger force prevents adequate protection of this 249 square miles of mountainous territory." The duties of the rangers, which stretched manpower too thin, consisted of (1) enforcing park regulations; (2) protecting wildlife; (3) patroling roads and campgrounds; (4) stocking the lake with fish; (5) aiding visitors; (6) preventing and controlling forest fires; (7) participating in forest insect control; (8) travel entrance checking and information; (9) compiling travel statistics; and (10) handling the park communication system. 
In 1928 Superintendent Thomson again stressed the inadequacy of the park ranger force. He observed:
In response to such complaints the ranger force was expanded during the next several years. By 1929 the force consisted of ten seasonals under Chief Ranger W.C. Godfrey. That year the checking stations at the west and south entrances were consolidated into one station at Anna Spring, thus requiring only four rangers to handle traffic checking compared to six in previous years. 
In 1930 a Park Service report examined the ranger organization and its primary duties. Among other things the document stated:
Tragedy struck the park staff on November 17, 1930, when Chief Ranger Godfrey was found dead in the park as a result of exposure to the cold. David H. Canfield, a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a graduate of the University of Minnesota, was named the new chief ranger. He took up his duties at Crater Lake in May 1931, having been transferred from Mesa Verde National Park by NPS Director Albright. 
During the early 1930s the Depression had a major impact on the park ranger staff. In 1933, for instance, the force consisted of Chief Ranger Canfield, permanent rangers Don C. Fisher and Charles H. Simon, twelve seasonals, and two temporary fire guards.  (See the table below for the backgrounds of 8 of the 12 seasonal rangers.) Two years later, however, Canfield, who had become superintendent, reported on the problems occasioned by personnel cutbacks:
With increasing park appropriations the ranger force was expanded in 1936. Two permanent rangers, Wilfrid T. Frost of California and George W. Fry of Pennsylvania, joined the park staff, thus filling "a long felt need." As a result of those appointments Superintendent Canfield observed that the ranger organization was "in a position to function more efficiently, particularly after the new men are entirely acclimated, accustomed and broken into their duties." The temporary force, according to Canfield, continued "to be filled by outstandingly able men." 
Several accidental deaths in the park during the mid-1930s led to increased emphasis by park rangers on visitor safety, protection, and rescue operations and more rigid enforcement of park regulations. The first recorded death by drowning in Crater Lake occurred on August 31, 1935. Arthur Silva, while fishing with Melvin Simon, both of Hayward, California, lost his life when their boat capsized, the result of both men standing up and turning in the boat thus throwing all the weight on one side. The drowning, which took place near Wizard Island, was witnessed by the lookout on Watchman Peak, but it took more than an hour to recover the body.
Two deaths as a result of falls over the crater rim in 1936 and 1937 focused attention on the need for visitor protection services by park rangers. In 1937 Superintendent Canfield devoted attention to this issue in his annual report:
As a result of keeping the park officially open on a year-round basis beginning during the winter of 1935-36 there was a need for ranger personnel in the park during the winter months. After several years of covering the winter period with temporary personnel, funding permitted appointment of two permanent rangers during the winter of 1938-39. In addition the chief ranger traveled to the park from Klamath Falls on days of expected heavy travel. Nevertheless, Superintendent Leavitt reported that the winter ranger staff was "not adequate to handle checking, road patrols, trail and boundary patrols and numerous emergency calls." He further stated:
By the late 1930s park administrators had determined that a park ranger training school was needed at Crater Lake to promote and develop the professionalism, efficiency, and effectiveness of the force. The two men responsible for the idea of the school were Superintendent Leavitt and Chief Ranger J. Carlisle Crouch. Thus, the first such school was held at the park during July 5-20, 1938. Various instructors were brought to the park to share the expertise of their disciplines. These included: William Howland, Superintendent of the Klamath Hatchery; Conrad Wessela, Associate Forester of the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, Division of Plant Disease Control; and J.D. Swenson, Special Agent in Charge of the Portland Office of the Bureau of Investigation. Among the subjects covered at the school were:
The success of the school led to its becoming an annual event in the park for all rangers, ranger-naturalists, and fire control aids. 
In conjunction with the training school Chief Ranger Crouch prepared a "Crater Lake Ranger Manual." The manual was designed to serve as a reference guide for the park rangers in carrying out their responsibilities. According to the manual, the ranger force was established to ensure that the park was administered in line with the NPS policies. In the introductory portion of the manual Crouch observed:
According to the manual the Crater Lake ranger force consisted of twenty persons. These included:
The living arrangements of the rangers, as outlined in the manual, provide an interesting commentary on what it was like to reside in the park. Unmarried rangers assigned to headquarters duty or who worked from headquarters were housed in the Ranger Dormitory. Married rangers assigned to duty at headquarters were furnished "insofar as possible, tent accommodations." Married rangers assigned to outlying stations occupied the furnished quarters, while single rangers assigned to such stations were provided with tent quarters. The park furnished a bed, mattress, chest of drawers, and bath facilities for $5.00 per month. Meals were to be obtained at the government dining room "at approved rates, usually at a cost of about $1.20 a day."
The majority of the manual was devoted to a detailed explanation of the duties and responsibilities of rangers. These duties were outlined under the following categories:
Increasing visitation, more extensive diversified use, and year-round operation of the park created added demands on the ranger force at Crater Lake. In January 1940 Chief Ranger Crouch prepared a report on "Ranger Protection Requirements" for the park and made recommendations for increasing the efficiency of the ranger force.
The first issue to be addressed in the report was that of "protection facilities." At the time the only ranger station in the park was located at park headquarters. In addition there were three "entrance" or "checking" stations--Annie Spring (11 miles from south boundary and 7 miles from west boundary); North (8 miles from north boundary); and Lost Creek (3-1/2 miles from east boundary). Operations at these stations included fee collection, visitor registration, gun sealing, checking in and out of deer killed outside of the park, regulations with respect to dogs and cats, truck weights and sizes and their control, and information services.
To streamline and strengthen protection operations at the entrance stations Crouch recommended establishment of ranger checking stations at each of the four park boundary entrances. He stated further:
Crouch recommended that campgrounds be established near the projected ranger stations since campgrounds "located in close proximity to a station and handled by personnel of that station are operated far more efficiently and are used far more considerately than those located at some isolated site." In addition campgrounds near the park boundaries could be used by park visitors several months longer than the existing ones at the Rim, Annie Spring, and Cold Spring which often could not be opened until mid-June or early July because of snow.
Winter access to the park, according to Crouch, added increasing year-round responsibilities to the park ranger force. Control of snow sports and the participants themselves made it necessary to hire more rangers. According to Crouch, the "size and number of snow sports areas consistent with the use must be controlled as must the ski trails, snow fields, cross country trips, and the actions of people anywhere near the rim of the lake, on the highways and elsewhere." Aid to injured persons as a result of snow sports activities also was a major component of the rangers' duties.
Crouch strongly recommended that a permanent ranger station be built at Rim Village (a temporary station had been in use at the rim) since it was "the destination of the majority of visitors to the park and the tremendous concentration of visitors in this relatively limited area calls for definite regulatory and protection activities." The recommended permanent central ranger station would "serve as a clearing house for the multiplicity of protection work required"--parking, traffic control and regulation, information and campground services, police protection, and emergency first aid.
Competent ranger personnel were necessary, according to Crouch, for exclusive service on the lake and around its shores. The majority of fatal or serious accidents in the park occurred on the lake or in the crater, including drowning, recovery of bodies of individuals who fell into the crater, rescues of marooned persons, and search for lost persons. Protection of the forest cover in the crater and on Wizard Island from fire and other destructive elements should be provided as well as enforcement of fishing and marine regulations. Thus, a patrol boat was needed to provide park rangers with the necessary means to carry out their duties on the lake.
Crouch urged that three ranger districts be established in the park as a means of making the ranger organization more effective. The three districts would include the northern and southern sections of the park and the middle portion consisting of the park headquarters, rim, and lake areas. He observed:
The Crouch report analyzed the need for additional ranger personnel in the park. The ranger force should consist of the chief ranger, and an assistant chief ranger who would handle the headquarters district during the summer and supervise ranger activities throughout the park in the winter when the chief ranger was stationed at Klamath Falls. Two permanent park rangers were needed to supervise forest protection and visitor use activities in the park. The ranger in charge of forest protection would be responsible for:
The ranger responsible for visitor services would have the following duties:
The ranger organization, according to Crouch, also needed two seasonal district rangers (north and south districts) and eleven seasonal rangers. 
In response to the report NPS Director Arno B. Cammerer urged Superintendent Leavitt to initiate action toward the realization of Crouch's recommendations. The five areas that he particularly supported were:
During the summer of 1940 Superintendent Leavitt reported on the responsibilities and accomplishments of the ranger service. One permanent park ranger position was added to the staff in December 1939. Thirteen seasonal rangers augmented the permanent force during the summer. In addition two fire guards and two fire lookouts functioned under the supervision of the chief ranger during the summer. Leavitt noted that the ranger organization was functioning "smoothly and effectively" in spite of "very serious handicaps, due largely to an inadequate number of permanent positions." Appreciation and use of the ranger organization thus justified "a continuation of the expanded service and program."
Leavitt devoted considerable attention to the added responsibilities placed on the rangers by the winter use of the park. He noted:
Superintendent Leavitt was particularly proud of the expanding program of the annual park ranger training school. Since the first ranger training school in 1938 had proven so valuable a second school was conducted for twenty students from July 3 to August 2, 1939. The expanded program of the school included training in such subjects as police protection, forest and building fire protection, forest insects and tree diseases, fish planting, wildlife, checking station operations, and first aid. Instructors, other than members of the regular park staff, included F.P. Keen, Bureau of Entomology; W.V. Benedict, Division of Plant Disease; W.I. Howland, Klamath Fish Hatchery; and M.C. Spear, E.E. Bundy, and Willis Wood, Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
One of the principal duties of the ranger force continued to be forest fire control. The ranger staff handled fifteen forest fires during the year, thirteen of which occurred within the park boundaries and two outside. Lightning started eleven of the fires in the park, one was caused by a careless smoker, and one was classified as miscellaneous. Total acreage consumed by the thirteen fires in the park was less than one acre. 
In February 1941 Crouch updated his 1940 report on "Ranger Protection Requirements" for the park. According to Superintendent Leavitt this supplement was designed "to keep current park protection requirements to substantiate trends, which in turn give justification for changes in administration, expansion of activities, etc. , and to emphasize the rapidly changing conditions from year to year." The supplemental report stated that the unprecedented travel to Crater Lake during 1940 emphasized "the urgent need for permanent personnel to look after this all-out use of the park." Despite the spiraling visitation "the numerical strength of the protection personnel remained stationary, and very definitely below a minimum required to perform satisfactorily even the most essential services expected of this division." A temporary structure had been used in the Rim Village area as a clearing house for protection activities, but a permanent ranger station was needed. Operations during 1940 substantiated the recommendation for ranger and checking stations at the north, south, east, and west entrances to the park.
Ranger districts had been established in the northern, southern, and headquarters/rim areas of the park. A fourth district had been created in the Lost Creek area "due to the extraordinary conditions prevailing in and the attention required for the Yawkey lands in the southeast corner of the park." While the districts provided for greater efficiency in ranger services Crouch observed that the "one outstanding deficiency in the operations was a complete lack of District Rangers notwithstanding the effective work accomplished by those designated Acting District Rangers." He observed:
Crouch also recommended the addition of an assistant chief ranger position to the park staff:
By the fall of 1942 a "Crater Lake Ranger and Fire Organization" plan had been developed. It was reported that the district ranger system was working well, both in routine and emergency situations. The fire protection efficiency of the ranger force was proven by the fact that of the 23 fires (21 lightning-caused, 1 man-caused, and 1 miscellaneous) occurring in the park during the year, only one exceeded the Class A acreage of a maximum of 1/4-acre and that one covered 0.77 acre. Fire protection during the year was enhanced by the completion of telephone lines from the rim to the north entrance checking station and from the park to a U.S. Forest Service guard station east of the park.
Temporary checking kiosks were placed in the center of the road at the east and north entrances during 1942. The kiosks proved to be "highly satisfactory, facilitating checking operations a hundredfold, and providing a safe and convenient place for ranger records and files." Leavitt desired similar kiosks at the south and west entrances as the existing Annie Spring station serving those entrances was "unsatisfactory for proper control, orientation, and direction of visitors."  (See the below for a copy of the "Crater Lake Ranger and Fire Organization.")
American entry into World War II had a significant impact on the ranger organization and activities at Crater Lake. In June 1942, for instance, the annual field ranger school held in the park combined the normal training in fire control, law enforcement, and other protection services with civilian defense training. The latter included training in defense against war gas and incendiary bombs and understanding of civilian defense organizations and functions. 
Crater Lake was operated on a bare maintenance level during the war as a result of reduced park appropriations and personnel . Park rangers performed a variety of untraditional tasks during the war emergency in addition to their principal responsibilities for fire protection and safeguarding of government property. In June 1943 Superintendent Leavitt reported that the chief ranger and the park naturalist undertook the major responsibility for trail repair and other maintenance work and furnished crews to assist the park carpenter, plumber, road foreman, and engineer in their duties. Leavitt noted:
Fire protection was the primary concern of the park ranger force during the war. The park master plan in February 1944 indicated that fire protection personnel consisted of the chief ranger, one park ranger, two seasonal fire guards, two seasonal fire lookouts, and seven seasonal rangers. As outlined in the master plan the duties of the protection organization related almost entirely to fire prevention and control. The responsibilities were:
The park, which had been closed during the winter months throughout the war years, resumed regular year-round operations on June 15, 1946. Chief Ranger Crouch and a small staff of temporary rangers were on duty in the park several days before the official opening By June 30, however, a staff of twelve temporary rangers and six fire control aides were working. Checking incoming park visitors was resumed with the opening of the park, and temporary checking stands were built at the south and west entrances. Checking at the park boundaries was found "to be highly advantageous," and the traffic jams, common when cars from both entrances were checked at Annie Spring, were eliminated. Regional Forester Burnett Sanford arrived at Crater Lake on June 30 and took part in the three-day ranger and fire training school for park rangers and fire control aides that had been resumed by Crouch.
The duties of the park ranger force reverted to prewar standards during the late 1940s. Fire control, law enforcement, and visitor protection were the principal responsibilities of the rangers during the summer travel seasons. Heavy winter use of the park by skiers and other snow sports enthusiasts necessitated various
The role and functions of the Crater Lake ranger force continued to be refined and expanded during the 1950s. In June 1955 an organization and function statement was prepared for the park. According to the document Chief Ranger Carlock E. Johnson was in charge of the protection division and had the following responsibilities:
There were few changes in the organizational structure or responsibilities of the park ranger force during the next decade. A park organization chart prepared in October 1962 indicated that the ranger force consisted of five permanent positions. There were a chief and an assistant chief ranger and supervisory park rangers in charge of the Annie Spring (south) and Red Cone (north) districts. One park ranger was assigned to the Annie Spring District. The remainder of the ranger force consisted of seasonals as required." 
The duties of the supervisory park rangers were outlined in a position description certified by Assistant Regional Director Keith Neilson on March 20, 1963. The list included nine areas of responsibility:
During the 1960s Crater Lake park management promoted development and improvement of methods and standards for visitor protection and resource management. This goal was to be achieved by emphasizing effective manpower utilization of the ranger force. In 1965, for instance, such an emphasis took the form of five objectives.
By the mid-1970s the park ranger force had been placed under the Division of Interpretation and Resource Management. Answering to the chief of the division were two supervisory park rangers and one park aid. During the summers the park employed about twenty seasonal rangers and nine seasonal fire control aides. The duties of the rangers, which had changed little over the years, included:
As a result of park reorganization the ranger force had been placed under the Resource Management and Visitor Protection Division by the early 1980s. An updated function statement prepared for the division in September 1986 indicated that the work of the division was supervised by four specialists under the direction of the chief. The specialists were in the fields of resource management, natural resources, law enforcement, and fire management. Supervision of various ranger activities fell under each of the specialists. 
Last Updated: 13-Aug-2010