Crater Lake National Park - Such a Deal...

Craterlake alpine glow

I arrived just as the "campground full" sign went up. I was about to ask where else I could camp when the host said, "I've got one RV site left. You can have it but it's $28 per night".  I showed my senior pass and the price dropped to $14/night! So, here I am a week later, counting my blessings.

Throughout my "walkabout" in our national parks, I have been amazed at the bounty of fresh air, healthful activities, excellent ranger-lead programming, interesting stories from folks all over the U.S. and abroad, and the deep silence at night - heavenly. The real estate can't be beat - oh, did I mention the views? This image appeared just after the sun set on my first night. A highlight of my stay was lying in a meadow at the rim, watching the Perseied meteor shower.  

Crater Lake is open year-round and hosts 400,000 visitors each year. The park covers 183,000 acres; the lake represents only 7% of the area.  In winter,  folks cross-country ski or snowshoe around the lake - it takes 3 - 4 days to do so as they have to route around avalanche areas. Between September and early June, Park personnel plow an annual snowfall of 44 feet of snow  - they can only plow 1/4 mile a day because they also have to cart it away.  

Now, the cost to taxpayers.  200 rangers are on staff during the busy summer months (I'm not sure about the winter staffing). Add in "search and rescue" and infrastructure maintenance. All this for - Crater Lake's annual budget is only $5 million!  Do you think park superintendents should run health care systems?