Lassen Volcanic National Park   4 comments

Lassen Volcanic NP 00Where Is It: 237 miles north of San Francisco.

The Birth: The Park began as two separate National Monuments. Theodore Roosevelt signed legislation in 1907 creating the Cinder Cone National Monument and Lassen Peak National Monument. In 1916, the Park was created, becoming the United States’ 15th National Park.

It Happened Here: From

On June 14, 1914, three men climbed Lassen Peak to see why a seemingly dormant volcano had started rumbling 16 days before. Now, peering into a newborn crater, they felt the ground tremble. As they turned and ran down the steep slope, the mountain erupted. Rocks hurtled through the ash-filled air. One struck a man, knocking him out. Ashes rained down on the men. They seemed doomed. But the eruption stopped as suddenly as it had begun, and the three men survived.

From 1914 to early 1915, Lassen spewed steam and ashes in more than 150 eruptions. Finally, on May 19, 1915, the mountaintop exploded. Lava crashed through the 1914 crater. A 20-foot-high wall of mud, ash, and melted snow roared down the mountain, snapping tree trunks. Three days later, a huge mass of ashes and gases shot out of the volcano, devastating a swath a mile wide and three miles long. Above the havoc a cloud of volcanic steam and ash rose 30,000 feet.

Eruptions of steam, ash, and tephra continued until June 1917, when the volcano resumed its quiet profile, with minor steam clouds occasionally reported. Since 1921 Lassen Peak has remained quiet.

Size: 106,452 acres

# Visitors: 427,409 in 2013. Attendance peaks in July/August, and was lowest in December.

Plants: From Wikipedia:

Lying at the northern end of the Sierra Nevada forests ecoregion, Lassen Volcanic National Park preserves a landscape nearly as it existed before Euro-American settlement: its 27,130 acres of old growth include all of its major forest types.

At elevations below 6,500 feet the dominant vegetation community is the mixed conifer forest. Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pines, Sugar Pine, and White Fir form the forest canopy for this rich community that also includes species of manzanita, gooseberry and ceanothus. Common wildflowers include the iris, spotted coralroot, pyrola, violets and lupin.

Choices: From

The park’s 150 miles of trails include a 17-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail. Pick up a copy of the Lassen Trails booklet, which gives nifty descriptions and maps of the park’s trails. You’ll find it for sale at the park offices as well in stores in nearby communities.

Besides the Pacific Crest Trail, GORP recommends the Bumpass Hell Trail, a three-mile (round-trip) trail to the largest thermal area in the park. The trail is also one of the most scenic. The Lassen Peak Trail is an approachable summit that takes an average of four hours up and back. Most moderately in-shape hikers will have no problem completing the hike in good weather. The Cinder Cone Trail is another fascinating trail. The ground is loose and somewhat hard-going, but you’re treated to peculiar landscape along the way and a great view of the surrounding peaks when you reach the top.

Fees: A vehicle pass is $10 for 7 days.

Staying There: There are seven campgrounds in the Park, including two group campgrounds. The group campgrounds require reservations; all individual campsites are first, come, first served.

Contact Info:

Lassen Volcanic National Park
PO Box 100
Mineral, CA 96063Visitor Information 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. everyday, (530) 595-4480

Current Issues: From

A Northern California family who watched a retaining wall give way and crush their 9-year-old son to death in Lassen Volcanic National Park several years ago has settled with the federal government for $3.5 million.

During a family outing in 2009, Tommy Botell Jr. was sitting on a wall near a hiking trail with his sister when it collapsed. Sections of the wall fell on them as the two children tumbled about 30 feet and their parents struggled to grab them.

Perceived unethical conduct clouded the lawsuit filed on behalf of Botell’s family. At one point, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory G. Hollows said park Supt. Delores Koontz did not fix the wall despite knowing it was dangerous, and then tried to cover up her mistakes after Tommy Botell’s death.

“This was a horrific event that no family should have to endure. Our grief and loss were compounded by the refusal of the Park Service to accept responsibility and to act responsibly during the lawsuit,” according to a family statement issued through an attorney.

Nonetheless, U.S. Atty. Benjamin Wagner said that “as the settlement agreement indicates, it is in no way intended to be, and should not be construed as, an admission of fault or wrongdoing on the part of Park Service employees.”


National Park Service: Lassen Volcanic National Park

YouTube: Lassen Volcanic National Park



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