Sunday, October 5, 2008

Still Lower Lake Levels

More than 50 feet of the head tower once used to move buckets of concrete in the construction of Shasta Dam rises above Lake Shasta’s surface due to low water levels. The head tower was partially dismantled after the dam was built and reappears when the lake drops 90 feet below the high-water line.

Lake Shasta last week dropped to 150 feet below its high-water mark, putting it well on track to break the 155-foot mark set in 1992. The lowest the lake ever dipped was in 1977, when the lake dropped to 230 feet below the high-water mark.

There's more than just muddy flip-flops and busted lawn chairs emerging from the depths of Lake Shasta as the reservoir drops to its lowest levels in 16 years. Old bridges, train trestles, tunnels and the foundations from towns long-drowned have begun to pop out of the lake's muddy depths. One such relic from Shasta County's pre-lake past even has taken on a new life. A bridge from Highway 99, the precursor to Interstate 5, was being used last week as a makeshift low-water boat ramp at Antlers Resort & Marina near Lakeshore Drive in Lakehead.The half-submerged bridge was nearly 100 years old, and that once Model Ts rumbled back and forth across its deck.

Central Pacific Railroad tunnel No. 6 along the muddy banks of the Sacramento River near Lakeshore Drive in Lakehead has become visible due to Lake Shasta’s low lake levels.