Sometimes the craziest ideas actually become reality. In 1870 one man proposed tunneling underneath the Sierra Nevada mountain range to ship Tahoe lake water to San Francisco. While that may seem like an audacious scheme today, similar projects were already underway in the 19th century and parts of the tunnel project under the Sierras have […]
The original transcontinental tunnels and snow sheds over Donner Summit were abandoned in 1993 for the tunnel under Mt. Judah. After hiking to the top of Mt. Judah you can walk the many miles of tunnels and cliffs blasted out by Chinese labor in the 1860’s. The concrete snow sheds that replaced the wooden coverings that were prone to fire from the steam engine embers, is now a canvass for graffiti art.
History may be posing a greater threat to the integrity of Folsom Dam than the terrorists. Recent road widening projects and dam improvements have uncovered several gold mining tunnels and shafts precariously close to the dykes which could comprise Folsom Dam. In attempt to safely probe the depths of a mine shaft between dykes 4 and 5, the Bureau of Reclamation pumped several thousand gallons into a large pit on top of the ridge this past August, 2013.
The Sacramento Deep Water Shipping Channel is similar in dimensions to the Delta Cross Canal. Its overall length makes it comparable to a Peripheral Canal and the construction on par with the the tunnels. The Port of Sacramento, with the necessary deep water shipping channel, turned out to be a colossal waste of tax payer money. Instead of acquiring more private land for the tunnel project, the state should figure out some way to use the deep water shipping channel easements and land.
130 years after the water cannons were silenced, significant scarring remains. Willows trees and brush, phreatophytes, are growing thick (I got lost in them) and trying to reclaim the pit. We are still left with a 7,000 foot drain tunnel and the lingering effects on the Sacramento Valley from the elevated river bottom that all of the hydraulic mining drained into.