LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK
LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Mineral, California 96063
Beneath Lassen Volcanic's peaceful forests and gem-like lakes lies evidence of a turbulent and fiery past. 600,000 years ago, the collision and warping of continental plates led to violent eruptions and the formation of lofty Mt. Tehama (also called Brokeoff Volcano.) After 200,000 years of volcanic activity, vents and smaller volcanoes on Tehama's flanks-including Lassen Peak-drew magma away from the main cone. Hydrothermal areas ate away at the great mountain's bulk. Beneath the onslaught of Ice Age glaciers, Mt. Tehama crumbled and finally ceased to exist.
But the volcanic landscape lived on: in 1914, Lassen Peak awoke. The Peak had its most significant activity in 1915 and minor activity through 1921. Lassen Volcanic became a national park in 1916 because of its significance as an active volcanic landscape.
All four types of volcanoes in the world are found in the park. Over 150 miles of trails and a culturally significant scenic highway provide access to volcanic wonders including steam vents, mudpots, boiling pools, volcanic peaks, and painted dunes.
Although Lassen is primarily known for its volcanic geology, the park boasts a rich diversity of plant and animal life. Over 700 flowering plant species grace the park, providing shelter and food for 250 vertebrates as well as a host of invertebrates including insects.
This great diversity of life forms is due to two factors: the geographic location of the park and the abundance of habitats that occur there.
Situated at the southern end of the Cascade Range geologic province, Lassen Volcanic National Park lies at the crossroads of three great biological provinces: the Cascades range to the north, the Sierra Nevada mountains to the south and the Great Basin desert to the east.
The myriad habitats of Lassen Volcanic National Park are produced by variations in environmental conditions such as elevation (5,000 to 10,457 feet), moisture (precipitation is greater on the western than the eastern side of the park), substrate (rock type and soil depth), temperature, insolation (amount of sun) and prior disturbance (both natural and human-caused).
The first person known to have settled in the valley that was later to become Drakesbad was Edward R. Drake (1830-1904). It is possible that Drake may have first arrived in the Drakesbad area as early as 1875. Roy Sifford recalled, "I have been told by others that he was in the valley at Drakesbad when Dr. Harkness, for whom Mt. Harkness was named, was there in 1875" (Roy Sifford interviewed by Les Bodine, 7 July 1987). Sifford also states that before Drake moved further north into Hot Spring Valley he constructed a "squatters cabin" in Warner Valley about a mile south of Lee's Camp where the road crosses "Drake Creek" (Roy Sifford interviewed by Les Bodine, 9 Oct 1987). Records show that in the 1880's Drake purchased a land claim to property in Hot Springs Valley, and over the next decade acquired additional property, the largest parcel obtained through "patents from the United States Government for a total of 320 acres in the areas now called 'Drakesbad' and 'Devils Kitchen'" (Strong:1989:26). By 1900 Drake's land holdings totaled 400 acres and included many boiling springs and other thermal features associated with the Lassen Volcanic Center.
The Lassen area was a meeting point for at least four American Indian groups: Atsugewi, Yana, Yahi, and Maidu. Because of its weather and snow conditions, generally high elevation, and seasonally mobile deer populations, the Lassen area was not conducive to year-round living. These Native American groups camped here in warmer months for hunting and gathering. Basket makers rather than potters, they left few artifacts other than stone points, knives, and metals. Some of these artifacts are displayed in the Loomis Museum, along with replicas of basketry and hunting devices.
Tribal descendents still live in the area and are valuable partners to the park. Members have worked with the National Park Service to provide cultural demonstrations and to help visitors understand both modern and historical tribal culture.
Ishi: Last of the Yahi
A Yahi Indian named Ishi turned up in Oroville, Calif. in 1911. He never mixed with whites before, and his tribe was thought to be nonexistent. He lived out his days at the Anthropology Museum of the University of California Affiliated Colleges on Parnassus Heights in San Francisco (now the site of the University of California San Francisco), where he was an invaluable ethnological source. Ishi was considered the last stone age survivor in the United States. He contracted tuberculosis and died on March 25, 1916 at the medical college on Parnassus. Yahi artifacts and tools created by Ishi can be studied at the University of California Berkelely, Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology.
Emigrants and Pioneers:
History here generally describes the period from 1840, even though Jedediah Smith passed through in 1828 on his overland trek to the West Coast. California's gold rush brought the first settlers. Two pioneer trails, developed by William Nobles and Peter Lassen, are associated with the park. In 1851, Nobles discovered an alternate route to California, passing through Lassen. Sections of the Lassen and Nobles Emigrant Trail are still visible. Lassen, for whom the park is named, guided settlers near here and tried to establish a city. Mining, power development projects, ranching, and timbering were all attempted. The area's early federal protection saved it from heavy logging.
B.F. Loomis documented Lassen Peak's most recent eruption cycle and promoted the park's establishment. He photographed the eruptions, explored geologically, and developed an extensive museum collection. Artifacts and photographs of the 1914-1915 eruption are on display in the Loomis Museum and are accessible.
Butte Lake: Open between June 3 - September 19, 2005. Phone: 1-877-444-6777 Location: 6 miles south on dirt road via Highway 44 East, 17 miles from Old Station. Butte Lake has a total of 101 camping sites. Campsites are $14 per night. Site Rules: Each site accomodates up to three tents or one RV to 35'. Limit of 6 people at each site. Parking available for 2 wheeled vehicles, space permitting. Motorhomes and trailers must park on the pad or pull-through provided. Quiet hours 10PM to 6AM.
Crags Campground: Open between May 27 and September 6, 2005. Crag's campground is located 5 miles south of Manzanita Lake and has 45 sites which cost $12/day. Site Rules: Each site accomodates up to three tents or one RV to 35?. Limit of 6 people at each site. Parking available for 2 wheeled vehicles, space permitting. Motorhomes and trailers must park on the pad or pull-through provided. Quiet hours 10PM to 6AM.
Juniper Lake: Open between July 1 and September 26, 2005. The campground is located on the east shore of Juniper Lake via 13-mile road. There are 18 sites in the campground. Each site costs $10/day. Site Rules: Each site accomodates up to three tents. Limit 6 people at each site. Parking available for 2 wheeled vehicles, space permitting. Quiet hours 10PM to 6AM. There are two group campsites available by reservation only. Groups sites accomodate 10-15 people and cost $30/day.
Lost Creek Group Site: Available through reservation only. Open between July 1 and September 19, 2005. The campground's phone number is 1-877-444-6777. The campground is located 4.5 miles south of Manzanita Lake on the Lassen Volcanic National Park Road. Lost Creek contains a total of 8 group sites. Each site can accomodate up to 10-25 people and costs $50/day. Site Rules: Maximum of 6 cars or 1 bus per site. Accomodates tents and RV's. Quiet hours 10PM to 6AM.
Manzanita Lake: Open between May 20 and September 20, 2005. The campground's phone number is 1-877-444-6777. Manzanita Lake Campground is located adjacent to and south of Manzanita Lake, and possesses 179 sites, each of which cost $16/day. Site Rules: Each site accomodates up to three tents or one RV to 35'. Limit of 6 people at each site. Parking available for 2 wheeled vehicles, space permitting. Motorhomes and trailers must park on the pad or pull-through provided. Quiet hours 10PM to 6AM.
Summit Lake North: Open between July 1 and September 6. The campground is located 12 miles south of Manzanita Lake, 17.5 miles north of Southwest Entrance and contains 46 sites which each cost $16/day. Site Rules: Each site accomodates up to three tents or one RV to 35'. Limit of 6 people at each site. Parking available for 2 wheeled vehicles. Motorhomes and trailers must park on the pad or pull-through provided. Quiet hours 10PM to 6AM.
Summit Lake South: Open between July 1 and September 19. The campground is located 12 miles south of Manzanita Lake, 17.5 miles north of Southwest Entrance, contains 48 sites, each of which cost $14/day. Site Rules: Each site accomodates up to three tents. Limit of 6 people at each site. Parking available for 2 wheeled vehicles, space permitting. Quiet hours 10PM to 6AM.
Warner Valley: Open between June 3 and September 26. The campground is located 1 mile west of Warner Valley Ranger Station via dirt road, and 17 miles north of Chester. Not recommended for trailers. There are 18 sites. Sites cost $14/day. Site Rules: Each site accomodates up to three tents. Limit of 6 people at each site. Parking available for 2 wheeled vehicles, space permitting. Quiet hours 10PM to 6AM.
Drakesbad Guest Ranch: Open from early June through early October (snow conditions permitting.) Reservations may be made online. The lodge can be reached at (530) 529-1512.