Mela was used as a mill to enable the Almo/Mollandgrenda to make flour from its own grain. The Almo farms had a watermill by the Kvennhusfossen waterfall at the north side of the river on the Haugen property, about 200 m above the Fibrua bridge. Traces of this mill can still be found, and the millstone now serves as a table at Framgarden.
The administration document for the Almo farms, dated September 1830, states that the property was assigned to Helge Thørrsien’s farm (Sørhaugen) from the south side of Mela, which starts just above the Mollan Mill house dam, at a pine tree that bears an inked cross. It is unlikely that this pine tree is still standing today, but at the time, it marked the boundary between Vestgården and Sørhaugen. It is interesting to note that all four farmers signed the administration document MPP (indicating an authorised signature by someone who cannot read or write).
Long ago, a large part of the route from Almo and Mollan to the town centre went through Sørbygda. Earlier there was a bridge below Gåsmoen, and the road continued through Skavlandmarka just below the Pemoen homestead. The Almo farms were located partly on the south side of Mela, and a bridge was built over to Mela. The first bridge, called Fæbroen, was built in 1833. Later the name changed to Fibrua. In the 1950s, Eilert Vedal built a bridge over the river by Sagdammen. Timber was transported across the bridge by horse and wagon, and later by tractor.
This bridge is now gone. Olaf Fossum, who had a summer farm in Søyringan, left his boundary mark between Vestgarden and Sørhaugen, on the south side of the river up a bridge. The last bridge built in the 1940s, named Olafbrua, is also gone. The Snåsa sports club built a bridge above the waterfall down in Gyllestønna. This was constructed for the Sørfjellrennet ski race. The bridge was taken by floods several times and was not rebuilt a third time.
Mela is the name of the river flowing from Movatnet lake and out to the Storåselva river. Rivers are normally named after the lake they flow from. This is true of rivers such as Kovasselva, Øydingselva,
Seisjøelva etc. One would expect that Mela to instead be named Movasselva.
In his 1817 article, “Om Sneaasen” (“About Sneaasen”), Pastor Svend Busk Brun wrote about Mela, but called the name of the lake “Molvatnet” instead of Movatnet. There do not appear to be any discussions among the locals about the name of the river, but as someone who has lived a long life with the river as a neighbour, I do feel that she bears the correct name.
The river flows through waterfalls and rapids, with the exception of still ponds in Storlya and Gyllestjønna, all the way from Movatnet to Storåselva, and she always makes herself heard. A loud noise during floods
and softer noise in low water. But she always makes herself heard.
The Mela river has long been important for businesses and the way of life in this region. Mela played a key role in exploiting the resources of the forests between Tjurudalen and Storåselva. A number of timber floating dams were constructed in the catchment area, partly to get
the timber out to Mela’s tributaries, but also to aid the timber floating down the main river, the Mela. The largest dam was probably Movassdammen. It was both long and high. Kovassdammen was also an important dam. Kovatnet is a large lake, and a full dam here could hold a lot of water for the timber
below. There were also dams in Tortbakktjønna, Raukolla and Skavlanfiskløysa, the latter of which was temporary and just a small wooden dam.
Timber floating was hectic and exhausting, and could also be dangerous. Several men fell into the waterfall from Movatnet lake or down onto the Storflya mountain.
It is not clear when timber floating ended along the Mela river. The dams decayed and the ordinary floating most likely reached an end in the 1930s. Timber was still floated along Mela until the mid-1950s, but without dams, and this was only timber that reached the river down by the Fibrua bridge.
There have been at least two water-powered saws on the Mela river. The early 1800s was a economic golden age for the sale of timber planks, and several of these saws appeared around in Snåsa.
Most of the saws used in Snåsa were sash saws. In 1795, the blades of these valuable saws were released and people could saw as much as they wanted. Most of these saws were owned by wealthy men who lived outside the region. In 1805, the Skavlan sash saw was built. I don’t know who built it, but already in 1808, it was taken over by D.A. Gram, a landowner who lived in Vibe. After a few years, Gram decided it was more profitable to float the timber to By and have it sawn there.
The Skavlan Sawmill was taken over by Gåsmoen and Bøkset. Johannes Fossum said that this saw was in use in 1934, when a new mill house was built in Bøkset.
The Almo farms had a saw in use below Sagdammen. This saw was on the north side of the river, where the Plassen farm stands today. It was first used in the 1930s. Sawn timber was floated down the river to Grubba, below Plassen.
The Mela power plant is located on the Mela river in Snåsa municipality in Nord-Trøndelag county. The power plant
was designed with an intake dam on Movatnet lake, which can be regulated at 0.99 metres.
Movatnet lake is located at 359.05 metres above sea level. The waterway has a total length of about 3100 metres of buried pipes. The power station is built at elevation 100 and is designed as a standard superstructure in the familiar Småkraft style.