Lava Beds deserves to be a national park; keep
pushing for it
Herald and News by Pat Bushey
Beds National Monument’s unique combination of fire-formed
landscape and human history builds a strong case for trading
the “monument” part of its title for “national park.”
monument occupies 46,000 acres of mostly
wilderness-designated rugged lava land about 30 miles south
of Klamath Falls in California near two wildlife refuges
next to Tulelake.
a lot to offer visitors in addition to the visual impact of
the frozen waves of craggy “aa” — the Hawaiian name for
lava, which monument signs explain. The area’s history
includes the 1882-83 Modoc War between the Modoc Tribe and
government forces, which ended with the forced exile of
Modocs to Oklahoma and execution by hanging of four Modoc
conflict came after a period of contentious relations
between Modocs and settlers. The Modocs were forced by the
government to leave land desired by settlers and go to the
Klamath Tribe’s reservation. The two tribes were long-time
enemies, which led the Modocs to leave.
There’s a lot more than that to the history, as signs and
other displays at the Lava Beds show.
Another major part of the Lava Beds’ story is its
500,000-year volcanic history and how its 700 or so lava
tube caves came into being.
short, the area has attractions that would draw more
visitors, if they knew the attractions existed.
national park designation carries a cachet with it that’s as
a seal of approval. It tells people, “There’s something
special here. Get here if you can.”
more visitors, the bigger the economic bump.
effort to move the Lava Beds up a notch is more than
the subject of a gathering last week at the monument that
included representatives of Rep. Doug LaMalfa and Sen.
Dianne Feinstein, both from California.
hope the interest continues and support spreads to Oregon
members of Congress, since the economic benefit would cross
state lines, especially since Klamath County’s Crater Lake
National Park is within easy driving distance. Why see just
one national park when you can see two on the same trip?
Oregon members of Congress should be willing to help.
National Park Service is also adding another historical
aspect to the local area with development of the Tule Lake
Unit of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National
Monument, which is being administered by personnel at the
Lava Beds. It will include remnants of the Tule Lake
Segregation Center and Camp Tulelake, in which Japanese
Americans were forcibly interned after World War II began.
Learning this part of the nation’s history will be another
good reason for visitors to come to the area.
Chadderdon, executive director of Discover Klamath Visitor &
Convention Bureau, told congressional aides and others
attending last week’s meeting that becoming a national park
could increase direct annual revenues between $23 million
and $32.6 million a year and indirect revenue between $117.5
million and $163 million.
pointed out, this is “pretty big money.”
also won’t come unless local officials and others in the
area continue to push for it. Don’t let it grow cold.
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