With Folsom Lake water levels low in the autumn of 2016, I decided to hike from Rattlesnake Bar up the North Fork of the American River to see if I could catch glimpses of gold rush era history. The terrain was far more difficult than I imagine. While I know the river canyon has change since the gold rush of 1849, I was surprised at just how arduous the hiking along this stretch of the river must have been for the gold miners.
Posts related to Folsom Lake history, operation, Folsom Dam, recreation, park.
For years, the rolling pastoral roads through Granite Bay have been a destination for road cyclists. It is not uncommon to see 5 to 10 bikes riding the narrow country roads through Granite Bay. But as cycling grows in popularity, Granite Bay should embrace its identity as a cycling destination by creating wider road shoulders for safer cycling travel.
As the lake level drops, the history is revealed. As Folsom Lake hit record low water levels in 2015, a whole lot of history was revealed. A drought shrunken Folsom Lake of 2015 was the highlight for a guy like me who had been hiking around the reservoir for years looking for historical sites. After numerous hikes around the North and South Forks of the American River at Folsom Lake, I finally organized my photographs and historical research into a book, Hidden History Beneath Folsom Lake – Hiking Across a Dry Lake in Time of Drought.
As winter rain finally begins to fill Folsom reservoir from its historically low water level brought on by a prolonged drought, local residents will probably be just as quick to flush away their water conservation habits. The water conservation practices that Northern California residents temporarily adopted because of statewide drought reduction targets resulted in minimal disruption and sacrifice to our lives. That so many households easily reduced their water consumption by 25% to 50% over 2013 levels illustrates that suburban household’s waste more water than we thought. Even with Folsom Lake approaching near dead pool level in 2015, we were never pushed to conserve more water and there was never sense of urgency.
I started hiking from the Folsom Lake Peninsula campground down to the tip of this stretch of land. Usually underwater, the drought of 2015 had drained the lake down to 15% of capacity. This exposed lake bed that is rarely visited during normal lake levels. Like many people I tripped across sunken boats, abandon gold mines and a surprising number of dams.
I had always noticed Rose Springs and Rock Springs marked on maps that encompassed the south Placer county region we know today as Granite Bay. It wasn’t until Folsom Lake hit historically low water levels that what I think are Rose and Rock springs became apparent to me.
Even before Folsom Lake Dam was built and the reservoir filled, the north fork of the American River was supplying water to communities, farms and ranches in south Placer and northeast Sacramento counties. I recently found aerial photography from 1952 showing a free flowing north and south fork of the American River. Finally, I can […]
From the shoreline of Granite Bay Beach Park at Folsom Lake you can probably see where Mr. Reppert was buried in 1849 in an unmarked grave far away from home and family. The death and burial of this gold rush miner comes to us from a fellow traveler and miner who wrote about his experiences in the […]
With Folsom reservoir dropping to historically low levels in the autumn of 2013 and record low rain fall, there was no question that Northern California was in the grip of a drought. The question posed by San Juan Water District Board member Bob Walters to the assembled drought water committee at their second meeting was, […]
In its very essence, the Freeport Regional Water Project is a peripheral water conveyance system designed to have Bureau of Reclamation water purchased by EBMUD not pass through the Delta. Even though this water is being used to service East Bay communities, there is no reason that some simple modifications to the EBMUD aqueducts would allow the water to be sent south to Southern California. Perhaps the Metropolitan Water District in Southern California should fund the construction of the necessary modifications to allow the discharge of water from the EBMUD aqueducts in the event of an emergency situation where Sacramento River water can’t be conveyed through the Delta.