Crater Lake National Park Bans Scuba Diving, Fearing Invasives

Aug 30, 2012

National park officials have abruptly closed Crater Lake to scuba divers. They say they need time to develop rules to keep invasive species out of the Southern Oregon lake. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports.

Scuba diving in Crater Lake is tricky. The lake sits on the Cascade crest at about 6,000 feet. So divers have to take precautions to handle the elevation. And then there’s the steep, rocky trail to the lake shore. Diver Walt Bolton says it’s worth the hike.

Bolton: “The lavenders and the blues at depth are just beautiful, and the topography and geology of the rim where we dive is just breathtaking.”

The park leadership says scuba diving has become increasingly popular. And that raises the risk that invasive species like quagga mussels could hitch a ride on dive gear.

Officials expect to reopen the lake to diving next year, after they have put rules in place to keep invasive species out.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio