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Updated 03/22/2012 10:20 AM
Wilde About Texas: The Canyon Lake Gorge
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Canyon Lake provides drinking water, flood protection and recreation to Central Texans.
The lake was built in the 1960's. In June 2002, lake levels were down due to drought, but it all changed when a massive rainstorm hit the area.
"This area was in a drought in 2002, not as bad as this one, but it was to where we were starting to do water restriction down in San Antonio," Canyon Gorge Guide spokesperson Josie Gonzales said. "The official record of how much rain actually happened over a couple days period of time was 34 inches."
The rain was enough rain to fill the lake one and a half times. The water topped seven feet over the spillway. When the water finally cleared, the landscape changed. Tons of rock had been carved away leaving a mile-long gorge.
"This wasn't a creek bed or anything, this was Texas Hill Country," Gonzales said.
Fossils and dinosaur foot prints were uncovered as once underground waterways. In the decade since its formation, the gorge has been a treasure trove of geologic discovery and a place to witness the power of water.
The Canyon Lake Gorge lets visitors experience what's under their feet, hidden beneath ancient layers of limestone.
"We have a wonderful natural resource and we want to be able to open it to the public and help to preserve it for generations to come," Gonzales said.
It’s a constant reminder of just how powerful a flood can be.
The gorge is only open to the public as part of a guided tour.