National Parks in Oregon

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NPS Sites Oregon

There are five national service sites in Oregon. Two of these sites are shared with Washington state: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
  • Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

Crater Lake National Park

This national park is one of the units of the national park service sites in Oregon. It is located in Klamath County near Klamath Falls in the southern part of the state. The national park was established in 1902 making it the 5th oldest national park in the country. It is also Oregon’s only national park.

The main feature of the park is the caldera of the Crater Lake, which is what was left of a destroyed volcano known as Mount Mazama, along with its surrounding lakes and forests. At its deepest point, Crater Lake goes to as far as 1,949 feet deep. This is, therefore, the deepest lake in the United States and second in the North American continent. This impressive average depth is due to the symmetrically deep caldera that was formed out of volcanic eruptions and activity over the course of 7,700 years in the history of the volcano’s development.

This amazing geological feature in Oregon is visited by more than 756,000 tourists per year. The entire park premises measure at 183,224 acres.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

This national historic site is shared by the state of Oregon with Washington. There are two units that consist of this site: the site of Fort Vancouver (Washington) and the former residence of John McLoughlin (Oregon). The sites were designated as national historic sites separately; the Washington unit in 1961 and the Oregon unit in 2003. The entire property measures at 207 acres of land area.

As one of the units of the national park service sites in Oregon, it aims to preserve the historical and cultural importance of each of these sites. The site in Fort Vancouver is an important fur trading post during the early 19th century. Meanwhile, the fort structures and replicas on the site are recreated with the aid of the National Park Service at their original location.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

This national historical park is another unit of the national park service sites in Oregon that is shared with Washington. The site was established to commemorate the site of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The site is co-managed by the National Park Service and both the states of Washington and Oregon. The park is established in 1958 and encompasses 3,303 acres of land area.

The site was initially named as the Fort Clatsop National Memorial when it was established in 1958. In 1966, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The final amendment as a national park was finalized in 2004 to expand and include the following areas: Fort Clatsop, Fort to Sea Trail, Clark’s Dismal Nitch, Memorial to Thomas Jefferson, Station Camp, Netul Landing and the Salt Works. The park has less than 200,000 tourist visits per year.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

This US national monument is a unit of the national park service sites in Oregon. It belongs to the Wheeler and Grant counties in the east central part of Oregon. The monument is located within the John Day River Basin and preserves the layers of mammal and plant fossils within the region. These fossils were estimated to have originated from the late Eocene period, which is about 45 million years old. Some fossils have also been dated to more than 5 million years of age, which is around the late Miocene period.

The entire monument covers 13,944 acres of land area. It consists of semi-desert shrublands, colorful badlands and riparian zones. It is therefore a focus of geological studies in the region with eroded layers of volcanic ash forming majority of the landscape. An average of 210,000 tourists visit this national monument annually.

Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

This monument and preserve in Josephine County, Oregon is a protected area within the northern Siskiyou Mountains. The marble cave is the main feature of this 4,558-acre national monument and preserve. The cave was first discovered by a resident nearby in 1854. Several attempts to develop the site occurred within the next two decades following the discovery of this cave. However, the site fell under the care of the US National Park Service after the Congress enacted it to be called a National Monument in 1909.

The Oregon Caves are solutional caves that span over 15,000 feet in length. The caves are made out of marble. The limestone formed more than 190 million years ago, according to archaeologists. However, the cave itself is only a few million years of age. The cave is famous as a tourist cave and for its scientific value as well. There are more than 72,000 tourists who visit the cave and its visitor center each year.

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