Pamelia Lake (Linn)

Reachcode: 17090005000768 | Area: 52.8 acres | Shoreline: 1.5 mi | View on Interactive Map

(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985)  Pamelia Lake is one of the most popular wilderness lakes in Oregon due to the combination of easy access and a spectacular setting. The two-mile trail from the end of Pamelia Creek Road is gentle and provides continual views of the lively stream. The lake itself lies at the foot of Mt. Jefferson, Oregon's second highest mountain. Glacial activity carved the valley, leaving the classic U-shape so evident in the accompanying photo. Subsequent to the withdrawal of glaciers a landslide blocked Hunts Creek, impounding its waters to form Pamelia Lake. Hunts Creek originates about one and one-half miles up valley in Hunts Cove, a beautiful glacial cirque which holds two small lakes, Hunts Lake and Hanks Lake. Several other small, unnamed streams enter the lake from all sides. Pamelia Creek, the outflow, is a tributary of the North Santiam River, joining it about six miles downstream from the lake. Seasonal fluctuation in water level is extreme, apparently due to loss of water through a lava fault; during the dry year of 1976-77 the lake was reduced to a few acres in extent. Spring and summer snowmelt runoff restores the water level. The small, steep drainage basin for Pamelia Lake is covered with a dense coniferous forest, except in several areas recently disturbed by rockslides. The lake is named for Pamelia Ann Berry, a cook with John Minto's 1879 road building party who "always exhibited unfailing cheerfulness."

The Pamelia Lake area has received heavy use for many years and camping has had a definite impact on the shoreline environment. The lake is open year-round to anglers and ice-fishing is permitted for those willing to hike in over the snow. Natural reproduction of cutthroat trout is so rapid that the fish do not get very large because of competition for food. To help reduce the overpopulation, a special bag limit of 30 fish per day and 60 in possession is allowed, with no minimum size limit. Brook trout also are found in the lake.

Pamelia Lake is oblong in shape, defined by the contours of the glacial valley, and it contains a considerable number of floating logs which drift about with changes in the wind. Water in the lake is generally low in chemical constituents, and the alkalinity and conductivity are low, although slightly higher than in many other Cascade Mountain lakes. Total phosphorus is higher than might be expected for a wilderness lake and indicates a mesotrophic state. The source of this excess phosphorus may be from marshy areas upstream or from springs located along the eastern shoreline. Another likely source is the considerable amount of human activity along the shoreline in summer. Phytoplankton species (Asterionella, Synedra, Nitzschia, Melosira, Tabellaria, and some Anabaena) also indicate mesotrophic conditions, although the densities of these algae are low.