01-Sep-2022 -- I wonder: How many Degree Confluence Points lie within a U.S. National Park? There are three points in Death Valley National Park. There’s one in Grand Canyon National Park, and one in Joshua Tree National Park. And I’m sure there must be several (likely unvisited) points in Alaska’s large remote National Parks. And then there’s this point, which lies inside Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park - barely. The National Park boundary marker lies just a few feet away, which made it possible for me to legally fly my drone over the point. I wasn't allowed to take off from within the National Park, but I could take off from outside it, and then legally fly over National Park land.
I had previously visited this point 16 years ago, in August 2006. As I drove towards the point today (on smooth dirt roads), I noticed that there had recently been a forest fire in the area; many trees were badly burned. I wondered if the fire might have reached the Degree Confluence Point. But the burn zone ended about a mile from the point, which looked exactly as it did 16 years ago. It lies at the base of a distinctive ’triple tree’: three pine trees standing in close proximity. How long will these three trees remain standing?. As they lie within a National Park, they will never be logged, so their only real threat is probably forest fire.
As I noted 16 years ago, from the ground very little about this confluence point is notable; it’s just a typical point in a forest. But from above, the aerial views tell a different story. To the North, you can see the distinctive spiky peak of Mount Thielsen. And to the South, you can see Mount Scott. (Crater Lake itself lies to the Southwest, but because its elevation is higher than that of my drone, it cannot be seen.) Nonetheless, if you visit this point, you should also take the time to drive to the spectacular Crater Lake.
Here is a remote-controlled aerial video of this confluence point.