Trail of Ten Falls as it winds behind Lower South Falls, Silverton ORNote the path as it winds behind Lower South Falls
Although the State’s initial acquisition of land for the park occurred in 1931, the early development of Silver Falls State Park can be credited to several of the New Deal programs. A significant portion of the land for the park was purchased by the federal Resettlement Administration (RA) c 1935, and developed for recreational use through the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) between 1935 and 1942.
As shown on the map below, a portion of the land that became Silver Falls State Park was once Silver Falls city. Surrounding this old logging town, the forest had been cut over repeatedly, leaving large tracts of land bare except for stumps. In other instances, wild fires had left snags behind.
With public purchase of land in the canyon of Silver Creek, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollees began a system of trails under the direction of the National Park Service to access the numerous water falls. Originally known as the “Trail of Nine Falls,” with the addition of the Upper North Falls today’s “Trail of Ten Falls” is a testament to the backbreaking work performed by the CCC in its creation. They cleared a path for the approximately seven-mile trail designed to avoid more than a 15 percent grade, built four rustic, wood bridges along its route, and constructed an extensive stairway system from South Falls to Lower South Falls. All materials and equipment were carried into the canyon, with a change in elevation of approximately 800 feet, by the CCC workers.
The stone steps of the South Falls route’s staircase are still in use today. Flooding and/or the normal conditions of deterioration in the Silver Creek rainforest required replacement of the CCC bridges. The route and placement of the bridges, however, remains substantially the same today.
Interview with Kim Maley, Park Interpreter and Carl Shepherd, retired State Park Ranger, Silver Falls State Park. May 15, 2022.
"Silver Falls State Park: Trail Guide," Oregon State Parks printed map. September 2019. Distributed at park location.
Project originally submitted by Judith T Kenny on June 23, 2022.
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