In continuing our exploration upstream we were thrilled to find another waterfall hidden in the dense growth of the narrow canyon. Our foray into the extremely rugged mountainous cleft revealed a total of seven beautiful waterfalls in successive and distinct drops. During our struggle up the boulder-strewn course of the fast-falling stream, we saw no signs of previous visitors except in the upper reaches near old, half-hidden mine shafts, and logging shows extending down from the ridges above the drainage.
Other than being surprised and delighted with our discovery, a family-like series of waterfalls, we thought little of our find. Later, in researching the upper Henline Creek area more thoroughly, I was impressed with the total absence of any record of the seven UPPER falls. Sensing the possibility of it being officially overlooked, I began an exhaustive inquiry.
First, I discovered the precipitous gorge is overlapping lands of the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service. Perhaps this explains why I failed to uncover anyone from these agencies, (or anyone else) personally aware of the existence of the seven waterfalls. The office of the Marion County Surveyor had no knowledge of them according to the chief officer of that agency.
Feeling certain at this point (including interviews and discussions with old-timers of the region) that the falls had not been recorded or mapped, I contacted Merle Pugh of the United States Forest Service and arranged to guide him and others to the site. I felt they could determine what should be done to preserve the extremely fragile ecology of the area and yet allow the unusual site to be enjoyed by others.
Shortly after this tour I had a meeting with officials of the Willamette National Forest with
whom I discussed the intriguing find. At this time I suggested naming the falls and indicated Iwas prepared to present an application to the Oregon Geographic Names Board as it is now titled. I asked for any objections they might have in naming the seven cataracts for my seven children and heard no objections from them.
My next step was to measure and photograph each of the seven waterfalls, titling them in the process. The order of names corresponded with my children's age and the height of each falls. The highest was dubbed Jerry Falls for the man with me on the first tour. The smallest cataract, which is not actually a falls (but rather a long chute) was tagged Deanna's Slide for my three year old. Later I had a sign painted denoting FAMILY FALLS with the name and height of each in order of their Occurrence along the creek. Then we carried a ladder to the ridge above the well-traveled canyon of Henline Falls and tacked the sign on a tree.
A short time later a news story appeared on the front page of the Salem Capital Journal telling of our discovery. I hoped the mention of the seven falls would stir some challenge to my contention of discovery but it did not. A few days later we escorted a cameraman to the rugged retreat and later a local television station featured the waterfalls on a news program.
At this time I made formal application to the Oregon Geographic Names Board to name the series, JERRY, DAN, STEVE, DAVID, RON, MARK, and JACKIE FALLS.
The first reading of my request to the board was noted and tabled by the members until a committee researched my request. At that time I explained the lack of records or knowledge of the falls and mentioned that I felt a discovery had been made.
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Copyright 1973 Maynard C. Drawson Reformated and reprinted on the web in 2003 with permission from Maynard Drawson