Lava Lake Weather Station

The Lava Lake weather station presents a fascinating piece of the preserve's past during World War II's Russian Lend - Lease Program.

 
Small wooden structure with rounded roof at the Lava Lake weather station site
Small wood structure with rounded roof at Lava Lake Weather Station Site.

NPS Photo / Eileen Devinney

The Lava Lake weather station may look like a dilapidated hut but its role in history belongs to World War II as part of the Russian - American Lend Lease program.

The Lava Lake weather station is the only remaining station of the many that were installed in the preserve to monitor weather for the transportation of war and non-war related material to the Soviet Union.

Originally the Army Air Corps build two structures at the site. One was a “Jamesway Hut” (mobile and easy to assemble building) and the other was a wooden structure on skies, both possibly acquired from another weather station located within the current boundaries of the preserve.

These structures and the men staffing them provided valuable weather information for pilots traveling across a remote expanse of land and water where weather conditions could be brutal, fridge and unforgiving.

The program sent approximately $9.5 billion war and non-war related materials and about 8,000 aircrafts to the Soviet Union between 1942 and 1945.

For eight months out of the year, at least two Army Air Corps crew members staffed the structures at these sites.When looking at the remains of this weathered weather station it’s easy to wonder what it was like for these men to be in such a vast and remote place, surrounded by a larger-than-life landscape.

While the Russian – American Lend Lease Program was short lived; it may be a window to an obscure piece of American history that took place within a quiet and isolated place in the preserve.