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Posted 12:56, 22 Jun 2011
Sandstone was blasted away above the falls; loggers did this to prevent log jams.

It is really striking to me just how economically depressed the Upper Peninsula appears to be; preserving and constructing Tourist attractions like this seems to be an important part of the future. Is it short-sighted to be cutting budgets to state parks and protected forests, while eeking out funding for a Pure Michigan campaign?
Posted 12:59, 22 Jun 2011
The upper falls of the Tahquamenon River provide a nearly untouched glimpse at an old growth forest. Hemlock trees have clutched the steep banks of the Tahquamenon for over 500 years and offer guests a look, as if through a peephole, into what the forests of a much older Michigan had to offer. Due to its remote and rugged location these trees were spared from clear cutting in the 1800's and stand today as a tribute to a time gone by. The water, colored from the vast amounts of tannic acid that runs off through the vast water shed feeding the Tahquamenon, rushes over the falls creating a sound that is at times a trickle and at others a thunderous gush. The forest, a mix of hemlock, sugar maple, beech trees has been hit hard by beech bark disease. The once lush canopy that delivered a cooling shade has all but vanished. Even with this incurable disease the forest is welcoming and the waters mesmerizing.
Posted 13:05, 22 Jun 2011
Dave! You always have great comments!
Posted 13:27, 22 Jun 2011
The upper falls were changed forever when lumber men used dynamite to blow up a part of the river floor. The men were trying to prevent dam build ups, and make their jobs much easier. This has caused the flow, when the river is low, to split into two waterfalls. Also, the water on one side is much darker from the tanic acid build up.
The old growth forest is being affected by the birch scale invasive species. Many trees have been destroyed and cut down to prevent danger to walkers.
1. What role is the water shed used for today?
2. Why is there old growth forest still around the falls?
3. What have invasive species done to the old growth forest?
Posted 12:11, 23 Jun 2011
The trip to Tahquamenon Falls was another how example of how the early settlers and industrial pioneers had to change the environment to profit and survive. The logging industry blasted potions of the falls help the logs go down the river.
Posted 14:23, 23 Jun 2011
Tahquamenon Falls:
The guided tour through Tahquamenon was beautiful even though it was raining and swarming with mosquitoes. Our guide explained how much of the old growth forest had been removed due to the fact it was falling and hazardous to hikers. Some of the old growth forest survived the lumber era, but it could not survive the winds. As some trees fell, it left other trees more vulnerable to wind damage. The frequency in which trees were falling was too hazardous thus Newberry prisoners came to clear much of the area's old growth trees.
While old growth trees suffered their fate, new trees were being attacked by a parasite dooming those trees as well. With the fallen trees, the guide was able to demonstrate how the inerts of the tree can be used as a dye. This Tanic dye was used upon animal skins, and it is responisble for the redish brown coloring of the river.
When we reached the falls, it was explained to us that such a wonderful work of art by mother nature had been altered. Parts of the river were deepened to allow for better flow of the logs down stream. This was not done with huge dredging machinery like we saw at the Soo Locks but instead by blasting out the rock and sediment. Decades later, the river and falls flow differently. The altering has sped up erosion of one half of the falls. While the shallower section with less water flow freezes, the thaw brings with it portions of the rock face, and the deeper section leading to the falls doesn't freeze causing an uneven flow and erosion pattern.
The tour ended with an apple throwing demonstration at the Upper falls. The idea surrounded whether you can survive a jump from the falls. We threw an apple in the river above the falls, and tracked the apple down the falls to see if it would resurface. ............... IT DID, but I am not jumping anytime soon.

How might the severity of the Upper Falls kept the area from harvesting all the lumber in the area?
Posted 08:23, 24 Jun 2011
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