Sunday, March 29, 2009

Silver Falls State Park

Yesterday we went to Silver Falls State Park, which is about 90 minutes from Portland. In that park, a river empties into a canyon, and you can see 10 large waterfalls and countless other little ones. The most impressive falls are North Falls and South Falls, where you can walk behind them. The park was effectively built by volcanic activity. Something like 8 eruptions over thousands of years created layers. The North and South Falls fall over beds of lava, which you can walk underneath.
It's very loud here. The falls sound like an airplane.
The park was built in the 1930s by the CCC. There had been an effort in the 1920s to make it a National Park, but the NPS declined after they sent a scout out for a visit, who noted that the area had been logged too heavily and was only waterfalls and stumps, too ugly to be a representation of the US. Since it was made a State Park during the Great Depression (to create jobs), it has rebounded and you would not easily guess that it was once only ugly stumps. In fact, we had no idea. We only read about the park in our guidebook on the way home. Evidently if you know where to look, you can still see the 1920s stumps, but they are well hidden by the new forest growth.

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