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The Gold Hill Whitewater Park at Ti'lomikh Falls
The Gold Hill Whitewater Park at Ti'lomikh Falls

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Gold Hill Whitewater Park Today
Gold Hill Whitewater Park Today

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Come see Ti'lomikh Falls...
Come see Ti'lomikh Falls...

Take Exit 40 from interstate 5 and follow the signs to Ti'lomikh Falls. The parking lot and trails are open from dawn to dusk.

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The Gold Hill Whitewater Park at Ti'lomikh Falls
The Gold Hill Whitewater Park at Ti'lomikh Falls

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1/19

Park Timeline
 

2003  Ti'lomikh Falls identified as an ideal site for a                      huge whitewater park that could be built at the                  same time the Gold Hill dam was being removed

2005  Olympic whitewater designer Rick McLaughlin                    sketches “world’s best whitewater park”

 

2006  Discovery of the Story Chair reveals Takelma history           and restores Salmon Ceremony

2008 Gold Hill dam removed without building park.                     “World’s best” park design has to be abandoned

2010  USDA study suggests whitewater park will have                 tremendous economic value and prompts new                   concept for Olympic whitewater course in channel             known as Mugger’s Alley. Access trail created along           channel.

2012   City of Gold Hill funds mapping of river bottom for             whitewater modifications

2013   First King of the Rogue Race 

2014  New parking lot improves access.  ODOT installs                  signage from interstate 5.                                                  

         State legislature funds Rick McLaughlin to design              riverbed modifications 

2015 Proposed riverbed modifications adopted into Gold            Hill Parks Master Plan

2016 US Rafting Championships held at Ti'lomikh Falls 

2018 NOOA Fisheries and ODFW request changes to                    whitewater design for threatened coho

2019 Re-design of whitewater features completed.                    Riverbed modifications will improve fish passage 

         LA wins 2028 Olympic bid. 

2020 Letter drafted from Governor Brown to LAOC 

 

2021  Permitting and fund raising continues

2023  Olympic course completed in Mugger's Alley

 Could Gold Hill Host the 
2028 LA Olympic Games?
Ostras Party.jpg

Los Angeles will host the Olympic Games in 2028 and has no natural whitewater. Meanwhile, Ti'lomikh Falls will soon have an Olympic slalom course designed by Rick McLaughlin, who designed the 1996 Olympic course on the Ocoee River. Gold Hill's natural whitewater course has much better access than the Ocoee Olympic course and could save LA tens of millions of dollars.

 

Could we bring the Olympics to Oregon for the first time? 

As a first step to test the Olympic idea, Travel Medford invited Morgan House, Director of High Performance for the American Canoe Association, to visit Ti'lomikh Falls. The ACA is the governing body of Olympic slalom. Morgan toured the site with a group including Olympic kayak gold medalist Oliver Fix and Steve Kiesling, as well as Alex Campbell from the governor's Solution Team and Angela Wood from Travel Medford. Afterwards, the whitewater team went to Oliver's restaurant on the plaza in Ashland called Ostras (above). Morgan had kind words to say about our our new whitewater park. 

 

As a next step, a letter was drafted for Governor Brown to send to the Los Angeles Olympic Committee, formally inviting the LAOC to consider the plan. Sending the letter was delayed by COVID-19. Meanwhile, we're getting back to work on the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of State Lands permits. We're also hoping to announce a new summer program shortly.

King of the Rogue 

First run in 2013, The King of the Rogue is a race for kayaks, rafts, and SUPs using all three channels of Ti'lomikh Falls. The event won the Medford Mayor's Award in 2017 and attracts competitors from around the country.

First Salmon Ceremony
Olympic_Day.jpg

The stone “Story Chair” at the base of Ti’lomikh Falls (above) is where the Great Dragonfly brought the Takelma Salmon Ceremony, the largest known gathering of First Nations in Southern Oregon.

Takelma means People of the River, and their lives were intimately connected withe the Rogue. In the 1850’s, the Takelma were either killed or removed and Ti’lomikh Falls was mined for gold and dammed for hydropower. The site of the Salmon Ceremony was forgotten until Takelma elder Grandma Agnes Baker Pilgrim and Thomas Doty provided clues that led Steve Kiesling to the Story Chair in 2006. The Salmon Ceremony returned in 2007 and the Takelma name was restored. Ti’lomikh Falls is once again a gathering site for people of the river.

In 2012, Olympic Day corresponded with the Salmon Ceremony, and so a team of Olympic athletes from 3 continents (gold medalist Oliver Fix, Gilda Montenegro-Fix, and Steve Kiesling) brought Grandma Aggie by raft to the Story Chair. The Olympic flag was sent from the 2010 Olympics in Victoria, BC, by gold medalists Dick Fosbury and Norm Bellingham. Grandma Aggie signed the Olympic flag on the promise that the whitewater park would make the river better both for salmon and for people.

 

To see the Oregon Public Broacasting video of the Salmon Ceremony—as well scenes from  Grandma's epic voyage—click on the picture. Or click on the pdf to read the feature article in Spirituality & Health magazine called Bringing Grandma Home.

Bringing Grandma Home Feature

Permitting the Riverbed Modifications in Mugger's Alley

A Draft Biological Assessment for the river modifications has been reviewed and the recommendations have been incorporated into the design. The next step is more meetings with the regulatory agencies and tribes that will be involved in the permitting process. In the meantime, feel free to download the files. If you have comments or suggestions, please send them to Steve@goldhillwhitewater.org

Draft Biological Assessment

Design Report

Design for Riverbed Modifications
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Indigenous Peoples Monument to overlook Mugger's Alley
First Nations Natural Rock Monument.jpg