• Lassen Peak from Hat Creek

    Lassen Volcanic

    National Park California

Cinder Cone and Lassen Peak National Monuments Celebrate 100th Birthday

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Date: May 3, 2007
Contact: Mary G. Martin, (530) 595-4444 x5101

Cinder Cone and Lassen Peak National Monuments Celebrate 100th Birthday

 “Reaching a centennial birthday is reason to celebrate,” states Superintendent, Mary G. Martin. A hundred years ago on May 6, 1907, Cinder Cone and Lassen Peak were proclaimed by President Roosevelt as national monuments. When these features were designated as national monuments they were administered by the National Forest Service.

The Cinder Cone National Monument extended from Butte Lake in north to Snag Lake in the south and encompassed all of Cinder Cone and the area now known as Fantastic Lava Beds – approximately eight square miles. Lassen Peak National Monument included only two sections of land, or little more than the summit and slopes of Lassen Peak. Together, the two national monuments composed about 6400 acres.

The establishment of these two monuments was the beginning of a long endeavor by some to create Lassen Volcanic National Park. Congressman, John E. Raker of California worked for legislation to create the National Park Service and in 1912, he introduced a bill to establish a “Peter Lassen National Park.” This bill failed and Raker re-introduced subsequent bills in 1913 and 1914, but could not find support from Congress. Local community organizations such as the Lassen Highway Association of Susanville, the Oroville Chamber of commerce, and the Shasta County Promotion and Development Association supported Raker’s proposal for a park.

Probably Raker would have been unable to distinguish his national park proposal from all the others had Lassen Peak not erupted in 1914. Lassen Peak was the only active volcano in the contiguous United States. Combined with the scenic attractions and the variety of volcanic features, the area now possessed the kind of superlative qualities that Congress looked for in establishing national parks. In December 1915, Raker, again, introduced a bill to establish a national park. Emphasizing the recent eruption, the proposed name was changed to Lassen Volcanic National Park. After minimal discussion, the bill passed both houses of Congress in July 1916.

When Lassen Volcanic National Park was established, Cinder Cone and Lassen Peak National Monuments were incorporated into the park boundaries.

“A hundred years since the establishment of the Cinder Cone and Lassen Peak National Monuments it is exciting to look back in time and celebrate the successes of the park. The Loomis Museum came under park management in 1927, the park road was completed in 1929, the ski area at the southwest entrance was developed in 1934, Drakesbad Guest Ranch was purchased by the park in 1958, numerous campgrounds and hiking trails were developed and a dedicated park staff recruited. And the most recent addition to the park is the beginning construction of a new visitor center at the southwest entrance,” said Martin.

The new visitor center will be open year-round and will provide visitors with information that will guide their experiences within the park. The visitor center will also offer book and gift sales and food services. The construction of the visitor center should be completed in late 2008.

“The last hundred years have been good to Lassen Volcanic National Park,” says Superintendent Martin, “and we’re looking forward to the next 100 years.”

For more information about the park, please contact park headquarters at (530) 595-4444, Monday through Friday, except holidays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/lavo.

Did You Know?

reddish color microscopic snow alage

The reddish color sometimes observed on top of snow at Lassen Volcanic NP snow is a living organism called snow algae. When snow begins to thaw, these microscopic organisms spring to life. They function as a primary food source and are being studied for their cancer-fighting properties.