Beautiful Bridge Hike in Northern California

Club Member Mike Aplet used to work for PG&E in the Sierras. Mike’s Facebook post that he sent me today says, “This pic is totally deja vu for me. It is one of the old canal/flume systems in the Sierra Nevada that has been converted to an ADA trail. I didn’t work this particular canal during my days at PG&E but many others exactly like it.”

Here’s the pic:

The Independence Trail in Nevada City

The Independence Trail in Nevada City

Thanks muchly Mike

The Rollerville Flume

Near Point Arena in the late 1860s timber men Stevens and Whitmore began to exploit about 7,000 acres of redwood timberland on the watershed of the Garcia River, some five bee-line miles inland from Point Arena. Their Garcia Mill cut 40,000 board feet per day, and in one eight month season produced eight million feet. The problem they faced was getting the lumber to market. They were stymied because they could not secure a right-of-way to build a railroad to the Point Arena wharf. The grades were too steep and attempts to haul by wagon had to be abandoned. Clever Mr. Stevens, however, had a neat solution; a transportation system with water power at the heart of it.

As usual there are not too many pics of the flume. Those we have are located on this and this page. Time rolls on and I now have another photo to add to the collection. Click on the photo to read the text at the bottom.

Flume using water from the Gualala River

Flume using water from the Gualala River

Rollerville Water Wheel at the termination of the Rollerville Flume

What is a flume? A log flume is a flume specifically constructed to transport lumber and logs down mountainous terrain using flowing water.

Where is Rollerville? Rollerville (sometimes called Flumeville) was just north of Point Arena. How did it get its name …….

The Garcia Mill was located up the Garcia River – it comes out to the sea at Gualala. A railroad wasn’t feasible to haul the cut lumber to the coast because of the terrain. Getting the lumber to close to the coast (six miles?) a flume was constructed. Here you can see the cut lumber being placed in the flume.

Loading lumber into the Rollerville Flume

Loading lumber into the Rollerville Flume

The flume stopped in front of a 10o foot high hill. And, how did the lumber get transported from the bottom to the top? A gigantic 24 foot high water wheel powered a hoist.

24 foot high water wheel

24 foot high water wheel

Look very carefully at the photo above. In the middle of the wheel a man is standing.

What happened to the lumber when it got to the top of the hill? Horse and car was used to haul the lumber to the chute that took the lumber from the top of the cliff down to the waiting schooners.

Chute used by Garcia Mill

Chute used by Garcia Mill