Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, and gives its name to Crater Lake National Park, which was established in 1902 to protect the 1,943 foot deep volcanic lake as well as the 170,000 acres of old growth forest that surround it.
The lake itself is awe inspiring; a bright patch of blue water sitting high up in the Cascade Mountain Range that draws thousands of visitors each year, and has an extremely long history of cultural significance. However Crater Lake NP also has a rich variety of terrestrial habitats, ranging from seeps, creeks, and riparian corridors to four distinct forest types: Ponderosa pine forest, lodgepole pine forest, mountain hemlock forest, and whitebark pine open forest.
As is the case in many other network parks, controlling the spread of exotic plants and animals are priorities for the park. Another major natural resource concern is the mountain pine beetle. This tiny species can quickly kill entire stands of pines, and though the beetles intolerance of cold weather had previously protected the high elevation stands of whitebark pines, a warming climate is helping these insects survive at higher altitudes, bringing old growth whitebark pines under threat. Data from the Klamath Inventory and Monitoring Networks programs balance the immediate needs of park managers for current information and the need for insight into the changes occurring over time.