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Phoenix Lake Drained
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Great photo Paul Penna! Phoenix Lake water has to be pumped uphill so they don't use it--too expensive. Although since this thread was started, pumping equipment has been installed in the lake and they did pump for a few weeks two years ago, I believe. There is hardly any storage space in the lake, but they will use the lake to move water into the other lakes in a really really dry winter when the other lakes aren't full. This could definitely happen this winter. 



-- Edited by ClydeRiceRoni on Wednesday 18th of December 2013 12:01:20 AM

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I rescued these posts from the old Forum:

 


 

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Date: Mar 20, 2012
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Is everyone sure that the Lake no longer provides water for Marin? I thought it was still active. That's why no boats were ever allowed on the lake.



The fishing there was always pretty bad. I don't believe they allow fishing anymore. Perhaps the lake is no longer stocked.

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Date: Mar 27, 2009
 
  
 

I caught my first fish in Phoenix lake. My brother and I would hike there just before dawn from our parents house. One time when they drained the lake, a guy caught a trophy sized bass in the pond of water that could not be drained. I remember fearing Moose Musinich, (think thats the last name) as we were told he was the guy that would get us if we went swimming at the far, (I think east) side of the lake. I remember his daughter, as one of my high school friends knew her. I believe Phoenix collects the runoff water from the Bon Tempe Treatment Plant, I doesnt get used for drinking water storage. We used to go on ecology class hikes there, as the ecologist teacher we had was against all of the silt from the filtering operations would kill all of the fish. It was true too, as one time the whole lake was clouded with silt, and a small portion of the east side was clear with tons of fish. I caught a limit that day.

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Date: Mar 21, 2009
 
  
 

Yes her name is Eleanor. She is my favorite Auntie. I have the best memories from up there, childhood, up into my early 20's. I learned to ride at an early age on their horse Betsy. Betsy was a ranger horse up at the lakes, before they used trucks! She lived a very long life and rests there as well.

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Date: Mar 14, 2009
 
  
 

your uncle Moose, and is wife, doggone name slips, but I can see them both, were swell wonderful folks. I rode horseback all over that mountain with the TTR, and they were wonderful supporters of the organization amongst other things. Muzinich, maybe her name was Lenore. long hair some grey streaks, he had the BEST handlebar 'stache, I grew one like him, though not as much wax. ugh. No, Ellenore, that's the name. Ellenore.



Wonderful wonderful Marinites.

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Date: Mar 5, 2009
 
  
 

The lake was drained because they needed to build a stronger dam. I found this out from my cousin who lived up there, she said it had to have been mid-late 60's, she was about 7 at the time.

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Date: Mar 4, 2009
 
  
 

I can sure find out anything you want to know about the lake and surrounding lake. My uncle was head of MMWD and lived in the house up there, the one right past the old log cabin. My mom says that my sister and I were conceived up there! I loved getting out of the car and opening the gate with a key and passing by all the hikers and bikers. It was cool. I spent so much of my youth up there, until my 20's. I even used to sneak the key from my dad and go up the fire roads with my boyfriend. We'd get caught by other rangers, who would tell my uncle. I don't know how many times they'd have to change the locks because of me! Until my uncles retirement, every big holiday was spent at the log cabin. Very wonderful memories. Uncle Moose was Phoenix Lake. He passed away last year, ironically almost a year to this day and it was the biggest funeral at St. Raphaels in San Rafael. Standing room only. I'll ask my family about the times it was drained. I believe it was more than once.

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The MMWD spillways were a lot of fun, thinking we were daredevils by going in and trying not to slide. The old Phoenix wooden spillway was scary (glad you made it, Rosemary!) and has been replaced. The wooden one at Lagunitas is still there. And the concrete spillway at Bon Tempe: we kept daring each other to ride a skateboard or bike down it but no one ever bit. Not a good situation. Has anyone ever done that?

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I was at a picnic at Phoenix Lake in the mid 1940s with some family friends. We hiked up to Bon Tempe, and then decided to take a short cut back down through the spillway. It was completely dry, except for a trickle of water down one side. when we got to the end, which emptied over a large rock, the fellas were able to jump down onto the rock. It was a little high for me to jump, so I went over to the other side of the spillway where the water was trickling down. It was a bit slimy with some algae. You know what happened. I slipped and went flying out the mouth of the spillway. Luckily I landed on my back on the rock. If I had over shot it, I would have splashed down into a deep pool below. We all had visions of that happening as I went airborne. I couldn't swim. Lucky I'm still here.

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Rosemary


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Nice picture, Paul P. You can see the old (1878) stagecoach road that went to Bolinas (before the Fairfax route) that was inundated when they built the dam in 1905 (?).

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I used to fish for planted trout at Phoenix Lake and remember walking up the old wooden spillway from a trail below. My understanding of why it was drained was due to the unsafe condition of the earthen dam.

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Rick


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I will look for it & contact you for a scan if I can't find a scanner nearby, as I don't have one, maybe Storocco or Rob M has one.

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Some where I have SEVERAL DOZEN pics of Phoenix lake drained. I was into fishing at the time and did a systematic walk around the lake taking pictures of the bottom so when it was filled I could find good fising areas. I will try to find them and post.

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Hi Meadowsweet,

If you've still got that picture of the drained Nicasio reservoir please consider scanning it and sending it in. It sounds interesting.

j

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Not sure why they drained it, but I do have several pics I took of myself & a gang of friends in 1976 jeeping around in the bottom of an empty Nicasio resevoir, I'm sure that kind of 4 wheelin' wouldn't be allowed these days, it was empty due to the drought in '76.

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I still have not done any research on the Mt. Tam watershed yet , but I was talking
to Meadowsweet Rich today about Phoenix Lake , he seemed to think it was used
for drinking water until the 60's. We talked about where it was treated , we figured
it was most likely pumped up to the Bon Tempe treatment plant above. It's
possible when they quit pumping out of there they drained it. I have a very vauge
recolection of some reason they drained it , something about Mosquitos or
some natural thing that happened , but it could have been something about
the distribution system.

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The date on the slide mount is too faint to read, but otherwise it's like the ones I shot in 1964-5. I can't remember why they drained the lake. Anyone?



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