Three Lynx Falls 12/24, Upper Falls 2/1

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BrianEdwards
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Three Lynx Falls 12/24, Upper Falls 2/1

Post by BrianEdwards » December 24th, 2012, 1:42 pm

Edit: This waterfall is located in the towns water supply. I strongly discourage going past the dam. You can see the falls from the dam.

A few weeks ago while looking around on Apple Maps for waterfalls up the Clackamas River, I stumbled upon two obvious waterfalls on Three Lynx Creek. The lowest one looked significant. Even better was that they were relatively close to the town of Three Lynx.

The more I looked at the lower one, the more it appeared to have a road leading to the base. Then it dawned on me that the road was probably there because the creek was the towns water supply. That also explains why the entire drainage had never been logged. Time to check it out.

I arrived at the old Three Lynx School around 10:50. The school is still maintained by the Estacada School District, even though regular classes havent been held there since 1988. They still use it for special events.

Nice sunny day out at the old school. This is the back of it where I parked.

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After parking, I headed out on the old path behind the school that headed up the creek.

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Soon I came to a road that was in very good shape. The drainage had never been logged, and the forest around here was outstanding.

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Looking back down the road after I had hiked up it a bit. This forest was awesome

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Soon enough, I came to the dam on the creek that signified the town's water supply.

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Looking over the stairs, I could see the big falls just upstream. You can see a glimpse of it just over the top of left handrail.

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After climbing the stairs, I had to climb up into the brushy woods a little ways because the creek bed was a lake. In no time though, I found a nice view of the falls. They didn't disappoint, my guess was somewhere around 90 ft.

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Panorama app on the iPhone

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Video



One thing repugnant about this falls. The creek above the dam is the source of this tiny town's water. Every water-supply watershed I'm aware of is either closed, or access is very discouraged. No map I've seen shows this area closed. Honestly, I doubt the town's people would want anyone climbing around in their watershed. Go at your own risk

I promised the wife a quick trip out today, so the upper falls will have to be documented at a later date.

The upper falls look pretty good IMHO

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Here's what the one I visited looks like on the satellite

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Thanks for looking
Last edited by BrianEdwards on February 1st, 2013, 6:51 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

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Sore Feet
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Re: Three Lynx Falls 12/24

Post by Sore Feet » December 24th, 2012, 10:33 pm

Wow, a big falls with a road leading almost straight to it that I've seen ZERO documentation on. Excellent find! Definitely going to check this one out next time I'm in the Clackamas drainage. Also insert obligatory rant here about Google not having access to DigitalGlobe content, because it's often a hell of a lot better than what they do have access to.

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Re: Three Lynx Falls 12/24

Post by BrianEdwards » December 24th, 2012, 10:50 pm

Thanks Bryan. When I seen how close to town the falls were, and the obvious path leading to it, I was in disbelief that there was no documentation of it. Seriously it's a 5 minute walk from the school. I think the fact that its the towns water supply has kept people out.

Regarding the upper one, I think it'ill be a nice 60 footer.

Merry Christmas
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

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Splintercat
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Re: Three Lynx Falls 12/24

Post by Splintercat » December 25th, 2012, 6:52 pm

Thanks, Brian! I didn't think you'd sit on this one for long..! ;) :D Great find, and looking forward to seeing you followup trip..! :)

The dam is interesting. It was almost certainly built (originally) by the CCC, but looks to have been repaired or rebuild with the mesh rock cribs you can see. What sort of structure was on the other side of the dam?

Happy Christmas!

Tom :)

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Re: Three Lynx Falls 12/24

Post by BrianEdwards » December 25th, 2012, 9:11 pm

Thanks Tom :), Merry Christmas
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

payslee

Re: Three Lynx Falls 12/24

Post by payslee » December 26th, 2012, 10:49 am

Splintercat wrote: The dam is interesting. It was almost certainly built (originally) by the CCC, but looks to have been repaired or rebuild with the mesh rock cribs you can see. What sort of structure was on the other side of the dam?

Happy Christmas!

Tom :)
I suspect the dam was built earlier, by the Portland Railway Light & Power Co. (predecessor to PGE). Three Lynx was a company town, built in the 19teens and early 1920s as the base for hydro development in the upper Clackamas watershed.

"Special Use Permits were issued in March and May 1909 by the Forest Service to the S.P. Co. for a construction camp on Three Lynx Creek and use of a right-of-way for a "wagon" road up to and inside the project area...In June 1923, at the peak of construction, 1,757 men were on the job, including those engaged in erecting a 9-foot-diameter steel conduit line... Prior to that time, from November 1922, the Three Lynx area electric service had been supplied by a 75-kW hydro generator on Three Lynx Creek... A two-room grade school with a second-floor apartment for a teacher was constructed in the Three Lynx village area in 1927 by the grade school district. However, at that time, the only taxable property in the district was owned by the Company which, in effect, provided the school facility and paid all expenses until logging companies moved operations into the area in the 1940s... [In 1930-31] in the Three Lynx Village, ten new cottages to house employee families were constructed. Married men had replaced some of the bachelors in the operating crew. Therefore, because of the remote location of the project, Company housing was needed."

excerpts from History of Portland General Electric Company 1889 - 1981, Arthur H. Greisser, 1982.

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BrianEdwards
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Re: Three Lynx Falls 12/24

Post by BrianEdwards » December 26th, 2012, 10:55 am

Thanks for the history report, Payslee. I dug around trying to find history of the town and creek, and from what I found, it looks like there's a lot of history in that little town. It must've been something riding a rickety old logging train up the Clackamas back then! What a journey.
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Re: Three Lynx Falls 12/24

Post by BrianEdwards » December 26th, 2012, 10:57 am

Splintercat wrote:The dam is interesting. It was almost certainly built (originally) by the CCC, but looks to have been repaired or rebuild with the mesh rock cribs you can see. What sort of structure was on the other side of the dam
Oops, forgot to answer your question Tom. I think a century of rock and sediment had filled in the creek above the dam, because it was a fairly shallow reservoir with a couple simple dividers and galvanized piping in a few spots. Nothing fancy
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

payslee

Re: Three Lynx Falls 12/24

Post by payslee » December 26th, 2012, 11:15 am

And some more TMI....

"A second Clackamas River flood on January 29, 1965 washed the Cazadero dam away and scoured a large portion of the channel... PGE's Oak Grove [Three Lynx] project was isolated for nearly a week because of flood damage to the Clackamas River Road. Helicopters, flying the 65 miles from Portland, delivered food and supplies to twenty families that were stranded at the generating area... Flood damage to the Oak Grove project included a slide and washout of the powerhouse road, a slide on the road at the Frog Lake forebay, severe damage to the domestic water supply dam on Three Lynx Creek, and washout of the protective wall upstream from the powerhouse. Because it was within the flood plain, Austin Hot springs campground was also severely damaged."


Beautiful falls! I've never been sure what parts of that area are open to the public so I've not explored it. thanks for the pics!

-payslee

Yes, I know more about the history of the power grid in Oregon than I would like to.

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BrianEdwards
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Re: Three Lynx Falls 12/24

Post by BrianEdwards » December 26th, 2012, 11:27 am

Keep it coming! That whole area is fascinating to me, and has a bunch of historical happenings. My other hobby is old railroad lines/grades. Reading about the railway and the construction of the town and hydro project has been very interesting. Thanks again!
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

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