The Waldo Tree
Tuesday April 19, 2005
By Nancy Salucci
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
At the southeast end of Island Lake in a wilderness area within the Rogue River National Forest is the Waldo Tree. A member of an Oregon pioneer family, John Waldo served as chief justice of the state Supreme Court from 1884 to 1886, and later as a state representative. He loved the mountains, avidly read Thoreau, and spent much of each summer in the wildest and most remote parts of the Cascades.
When John Muir traveled through Southern Oregon he became acquainted with many vocal conservationists, including John Waldo. These men would later become members of the Mazamas, a Northwest mountaineering and club.
During the summer of 1888, Waldo and four companions made the first recorded journey along the crest between Mount Jefferson and Mount Shasta. They made the trip because Waldo intended to have the legislature ask Congress for a huge "public reserve or park." On this trip the men carved their names into a Shasta Red Fir that still bears their names today.
Waldo's dream of a national park encompassing the Cascade crest did not come to fruition, however his efforts and those of the Mazamas eventually contributed to the establishment of Crater Lake National Park. The Waldo Tree is designated as an Oregon Heritage Tree.
Today's episode of As It Was was written by Nancy Salucci, the program engineer is Raymond Scully. I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org