McKenzie, Oregon, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Max Gradient||240 fpm|
This section of river is a bypass reach for the Eugene Water & Electric Board's Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Plant. Whitewater resources are currently being examined by Confluence Research in partnership with the utility, American Whitewater, and local volunteers.
Tamolitch Falls separates the Upper Carmen and Lower Carmen reaches on this section and represents a break point where the character of the whitewater changes. Upper Carmen is approximately two miles long and drops about 50' per mile with class II/III whitewater. Beginning about 1/3 of a mile above Tamolitch Falls the gradient increases dramatically approaching 200' per mile with class III/IV whitewater. Tamolitch Falls is a 50'-60' vertical drop into the "Blue Pool". Below this point the river passes through a steep gorge for about a mile representing the most interesting whitewater on the run. Below the gorge the gradient eases off to about 60' per mile as the channel begins to braid and substrate size decreases.
Additional assessment of the feasibility of access in the vicinity of Tamolitch Falls is ongoing as is further study of the whitewater resources and recommended flows.