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Director's visit will be a first for Lava Beds


Published June 4, 2004

Park Service Director Fran Mainella to dedicate visitor center and research facility


When Fran Mainella visits Lava Beds National Monument next Saturday, it will be the first time a sitting National Park Service director has visited the park.

Mainella will be at Lava Beds Saturday, June 12, to formally dedicate the park's first-ever visitor center and research facility.

Activities will begin at 10 a.m. at the park's visitor center, which actually opened last fall. The research center is currently under construction.

Lava Beds Superintendent Craig Dorman said the buildings "represent the most recent and the last of the major projects undertaken in the last seven years that have repaired, renovated and upgraded all of the visitor facilities at the park. The National Park Service has focused nationally on eliminating a serious facilities maintenance backlog and Lava Beds has made huge improvements in every area of the park."

Dorman hopes to use the gathering as a way of encouraging Klamath Basin people to celebrate successes and to "reacquaint themselves with the new, 79-year-old park."

"Lava Beds has always had a very close link to the region and its neighbors who have supported the monument in so many ways over the years," Dorman said. "We want to invite everyone to come and visit their park and re-discover all of those special things that make this a place of national significance."

Construction of the research center, he said, represents the culmination of a private fund-raising campaign led by the Cave Research Foundation. After the building's completion it will be donated to the National Park Service.

"This is a facility that will be available to researchers and will have an educational component," Dorman said, noting it should increase research opportunities in the park. Until now, researchers have had to either camp or find living quarters outside the park.

As part of the celebration, park entrance fees will not be collected on dedication day.

Activities will formally begin with a flag-raising at 10 a.m. Members of the Klamath Tribes will present a special honor song commemorating the new facility. A series of guest speakers, including Mainella, will give brief talks.

Following the program, activities will include information booths from an array of Klamath Basin organizations and agencies, along with crafts booths by local artists. Winners of an art contest, featuring the works of local youth, will be announced.

The Tulelake Volunteer Fire Department will host a barbecue offering hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans and potato salad.

Group tours will be offered of the new facility and the former visitor center site, which has been converted to a picnic area.

A Mushpot Cave program will be offered at 1 p.m. Visitors to this cave will find a new trail and lighting system.

"We look forward to seeing new and old friends for the dedication," Dorman said.

For more information call the visitor center at (530) 667-8100.






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