Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Wilderness proposed to fend off Crater Lake encroachments

August 7, 2009, 9:03 am

Several environmental groups are proposing a new wilderness area blanketing Crater Lake National Park and stretching some 75 miles from Crescent Lake south to Highway 140 at Fish Lake.

The proposed Crater Lake Wilderness, covering some 450,000 acres, would ensure the "quiet beauty" of Crater Lake would be protected, and thwart an effort by a Bend firm to offer helicopter tours around the lake, said Erik Fernandez, wilderness coordinator for Portland-based Oregon Wild.

The proposed area, which would include the park and embrace the Sky Lakes Wilderness, Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness and the Mount Thielsen Wilderness, would create more wilderness connectivity, Fernandez said when announcing the proposal Thursday.

"When we look at Oregon, we think of ourselves as a green state, but only 4 percent is protected as wilderness and only one national park," Fernandez said. "We have a responsibility to future generations to do better.