Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell visited Crater Lake National Park this weekend, celebrating National Park Week.
Jewell went snowshoeing at the crater rim with students from the Network Charter School in Eugene. Jewell said she was impressed at how passionate the Eugene students were about conservation.
“They were terrific. I mean really poetic. Not just talking about National Parks, but talking about our lands, and how we use our lands and need to be more thoughtful about things we extract as opposed to conservation,” she said.
Jewell also met with a Northwest Youth Corp work crew. She said she was struck by the signs of climate change and drought she saw in the park.
“One of the things I learned when I was out snowshoing with the kids is that the average snowpack historically at Crater Lake is 44 feet, and they measure that on April 1. When they took the measurements on April 1 this year, it’s 19 feet. I mean, it is an extreme drought situation,” she said.
The park relies on a snow-fed creek, Annie Creek, for its water and drought could leave the park without a reliable supply this summer. Jewell says she is discussing the possibility that water will have to be cut off to the park, and portable toilets will need to be trucked in. Water in the lake itself is off limits for use.