Why Is Mount Shasta Not a National Park?

Whenever I drive between Weed and Mt Shasta (the town) along I-5 in northern California, my breath is taken away by the spectacular beauty of Mt Shasta (the mountain) looming to the east. For some odd reason, I had always assumed that Mount Shasta was a national park. Conversely, I never before thought that Mount Lassen was, which we had just visited. Maybe the majesty of Shasta gave me the impression that it should be an important charge of the National Park Service. Some research revealed that there had been several attempts to get Congress to confer park status as far back as 1912, but all have so far failed. Ironically, though there were resolutions in the House for both in 1914, Mount Lassen drew attention away from Shasta when it erupted that very year and all effort was expended by Congress to make Lassen a national park. It seems that there is nothing unique about Shasta and its surrounding area that other established parks already showcase, so the argument goes. So for now, Shasta has to content itself with being a National Natural Landmark, which is equivalent in a beauty contest to getting the “most inspirational” award.


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