The Tahquitz River also known locally as “the Wash” was originally funded by Pearl & Austin McCallum around 1947, to provide flood control. Prior to this, development was too risky but, with the canal in place, developers including Paul Trousdale were enticed to the area.
With the maintenance work that was done last Fall, the river continues to both protect our neighborhood from flooding and provide a scenic and relaxing feature for all to enjoy. Anyone in town on Valentine’s Day this year will recall the “Deluge in the Desert” or the “Valentine’s Day Massacre,” two names given the record setting storm that day. With 3.47” of rain in a 24-hour period, it was the 3rd largest recorded level since 1943.
The picture below shows the drop at the pedestrian bridge during the storm. The water is dark and muddy and the drop is less than 3’.
Today with the return of warm and dry weather, the river is again an idyllic addition to our neighborhood and an environment for plants, ground squirrels, bunnies and, yes, coyotes. It’s also a favorite walking trail for dogs and their owners. For comparison, see the picture below with a couple and their dog wading in the water and on the sand bar at the same location as above. The drop is more like 6-7’ now.
If you’re wondering whether the dredging done last fall was necessary, you only need visit the nearby Araby Wash. It had not been dredged in advance of the February storm and is now completely silted in. Compare the photos of Araby and Tahquitz River below, to truly appreciate the work that was done!
Do yourself a favor and take time to walk over to and along this gem that is our neighborhood’s namesake.
Note: The Tahquitz River Yacht Club which picks up trash and litter along the wash (and has been doing so once a month for the past 13 years) will be meeting at the pedestrian bridge this Saturday, May 18th, at 9am. You can enjoy the walking along the water, meet some neighbors and contribute to maintaining this great resource, all at the same time!