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Design Your Own Park and Lodge


Grade level: middle and high school

Each of the three lodges in the Pacific NW Lodges video was designed so that they blend into the natural environment and appear to be "growing out of the land." Most of the building materials consisted of native rock, wood shingles, and timber from the local area, consistent with the rustic architecture of existing national Park lodges. Paradise Inn was built in 1916. Naturally-weathered Alaska cedar logs and cedar shingles from Silver Forest on Mt. Rainer comprise much of the exterior. Oregon Caves Chateau, built in 1934, is made of lumber from the nearby Grayback Drainage eight miles from the cave. The cedar-bark siding, and interior ponderosa pine, madrone, white oak, and Douglass Fir were also from local forests. The fireplace is made of local limestone and marble. Crater Lake Lodge, built in 1913-1915, is an exception to the rustic heritage of national Park lodges. Although the wood and stone were native to the area, the lodge was considered an eyesore and structural hazard. It deteriorated to the point when, in 1989, it was closed for reconstruction. It now stands as a beautiful lodge with a wood veneer.

    Students will:
  • Study maps of their local area to find a site suitable for a Park.
  • Research the natural resources in their state and choose appropriate building materials
  • Design a Park with a lodge and recreational amenities
  • Sketch a lodge that blends with the surroundings and that is suitable to the proposed Park site
  • Gain an appreciation for the effort put forth in establishing a Park.

National Standards:

National Social Studies Standards

Standard 2:
People, Places and Environments
The study of people, places, and human-environment interactions assists learners as they create their spatial views and geographic perspectives of the world. Today's social, cultural, economic, and civic demands on individuals mean that students will need the knowledge, skills, and understanding to ask and answer questions such as: Where are things located? Why are they located where they are? What patterns are reflected in the groupings of things? What do we mean by region? How do landforms change? What implications do these changes have for people? This area of study helps learners make informed and critical decisions about the relationship between human beings and their environment.

Standard 10:
Civic Ideals and Practices
All people have a stake in examining civic ideals and practices across time and in diverse societies as well as at home, and in determining how to close the gap between present practices and the ideals upon which our democratic republic is based. Learners confront such questions as: What is civic participation and how can I be involved? How has the meaning of citizenship evolved? What is the balance between rights and responsibilities? What is the role of the citizen in the community and the nation, and as a member of the world community? How can I make a positive difference?

National Geography Standards

Standard 1:
The geographically informed person knows how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information

Standard 3:
The geographically informed person knows how to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments.

Standard 4:
The geographically informed person knows the physical and human characteristics of places.

Standard 14:
The geographically informed person knows how human actions modify the physical environment

Standard 16:
The geographically informed person knows the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of natural resources.

  • One topographic map of the local area for each team of 3 students. These maps can be obtained from the Map Sales Center, Bldg. B10, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225. Phone: 1-888-ASK-USGS
  • Books and web sites on the natural resources of the school's state. These may be available from your state geological survey, department of natural resources, or state library.
  • Colored pencils
  • White construction paper
  • Great Lodges of the National Parks: Pacific NW Lodges (PBS video)

    Start with: beginning of tape
    End with: Paradise Inn represents an early attempt to provide comfortable accommodations inside a national Park.

    Start with: After a day on the mountain or in the meadows, visitors are grateful for the warmth of Paradise Inn.
    End with: Something that is old, that is familiar, that is the same building that our parents, our grandparents saw that has a great appeal.

    Start with: About an hour and drives east of Portland sits Oregon's highest mountain.
    End with: And all Americans should be proud when we pull together on something like that; to be given the opportunity to do it and do our very best.

    Start with: One of the design schemes for the building and one of the parameters was to use local materials.
    End with: And depression era art decorates nearly every wall.

    Start with: 330 miles south of Timberline tucked away in southwestern Oregon...
    End with: It's part of the rusticity, part of the character of the place.

    Start with: The chateaus warm golden ambiance is as deep as the forest that surrounds it.
    End with: The chateau remains virtually unchanged since it opened in the 30's; a comfortable old world resort stuck in a time warp.

    Start with: I think that humans have a potentially fatal flaw and that is that we become obsessed with ourselves.
    End with: Thank God it's still here.

    Start with: 130 miles northeast of Oregon Caves, where the...
    End with: Today is really the finest hour of Crater Lake Lodge.

    Start with: In 1885 it was visited by the man who would become the founder of Crater Lake National Park.
    End with: The lodge provided accommodations next to one of the nation's true wonders.

    Start with: Crater Lake Lodge had become unsafe.
    End with: It's the perfect place for watching the sunset or sunrise with a cup of coffee.

    Start with: Almost 100 years after William Steele's vision of Crater Lake national Park became a reality....
    End with: to end of video
  • Obtain reference materials (see materials section above) that are pertinent to your state and local area
  • Begin the lesson, by asking the class to describe nearby Parks in the area. Are they satisfied by them? What so they like about them and what would they like to do to improve them? Ask if the city were to build a state-of-the-art Park, what would they like included in the design? Tell them they are about to see a video on the construction and development of three national Parks and that they are to decide what elements of these Parks they like
  • View the video with the class and elicit from them what the three Parks all had in common: a central attraction (lake, cave, and mountain), beautiful scenery, lodges. Review that the lodges were all made with local stone and lumber and that there was an effort when designing the lodges to maintain the Park's natural beauty and sense of wilderness. Show pictures of the Parks and lodges so they class can develop mental images of the rustic lodges and scenery.
  • Explain that the class will work in groups of three to design their own Parks for a nearby undeveloped area or to redesign a Park that does not have the rustic feel as the national Parks do. Brainstorm with the class potential areas that they might consider to pick for their Park. Have the students survey at least 10 adults and 10 children in the community to see what they would like included in a Park.
  • If time and resources permit, take a field trip to the suggested sites. Walk around each site so that the students get a good sense of the slope and layout of the land, potential natural attractions (hiking trails, lakes or rivers, ect.), and ideas for development. Be sure to gain permission from the landowner beforehand.
  • Divide the class into groups of three and distribute the maps. Review how to read a topographic map. Explain that the contour lines each represent a certain elevation of the land. Show that as the numbers on the contour lines increase, so does the elevation of the land. Decreasing numbers on the contour lines, on the other hand, represent a land surface that slopes downhill. Contour lines that are very close together represent steep slopes, whereas lines that are far apart represent very gentle slopes. This will be important when they decide where to build their lodge. An extremely steep slope is not amenable to constructing a very large lodge.
  • Each group should then decide where they want to locate their Park and what kind of facilities they want to build, incorporating suggestions from their community survey. They should also outline the boundaries of the Park on the map. Copy the topographic maps on a copier machine so they can use these for a rough draft of their Park plan. If the area chosen by the students is not very big, enlarge the maps on a copier machine so that the details for the Park can be easily included on the map.
  • Each group will divide the assignment into three jobs. One team member will draw a map of their new Park that shows the areas of interest, natural features, roads, lodge, and other amenities. Another member will draw the floor plan of the lodge and make suggestions for furnishings. Explain that they will need to decide how big their lodge will be, and then be sure to draw the lodge to scale so that it fits on the paper. The third member will research the state's natural resources to decide upon the construction materials, and draw a sketch of the front exterior of the lodge, showing how these materials will be used.
  • Before they begin, the group needs to decide on what amenities to include in their Park. Possible suggestions: golf course, swimming pool, horseback riding trails, hiking trails, campsites, fishing, and boating.
  • Students should sketch a rough draft of their Park plan on the copied maps, and carefully draw their plan with colored pencils on the original topographic map. Rough drafts of the floor plan and sketch of the front of the lodge are first drawn on blank paper and they final version is drawn with colored pencils on white construction paper.
  • Have each class present their plans to the rest of the class.
Assessment Suggestions:
    Assessment may be based on:
  • The ability to work cooperatively in a group
  • Amount of detail in their drawings and maps
  • Aesthetics of their Park plans
  • Accuracy of research of natural resources
  • Incorporation of survey results into their Park plan
  • Invite an architect and a construction project manager to speak to the class on the general process of designing and constructing buildings. Then have them describe the architecture and construction a local project that the students are already familiar with.
  • The class will vote on the top two plans and request a meeting with the town's planning commission, Park and recreation division, town council, or similar agency in order to present their ideas for a new Park.


Barnes, C., 1997, Great Lodges of the West