Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Dam Site

I hope everyone had a great Independence Day Holiday last week.

Our family took an RV trip over to Port Angeles, WA where we camped next to the former Elwha Dam Site. Yes, I chose a vacation destination based on a power plant location… and my family agreed to join me!

If you’re not familiar with the Elwha restoration project, you can get more details here.

In a nutshell, two power producing dams that were built in the early 1900’s (without following required permit and treaty construction practices) are being removed because, as the BBC put it “Adding new [fish] ladders would have proved prohibitively expensive. And the dams also needed major upgrades because they no longer met modern environmental standards or produced energy at an efficient price.”

Webcams of the area are availablehere

There are also some YouTube videos available of the dam removals:
Elwha Dam Removal process (animation with notes)
Glines Canyon Removal (time-lapse)

The lower dam on the river was only a short walk from our camp site. The construction access road was open for pedestrian traffic, and allowed us to get up close and personal with the top of the valley where the dam used to be. There’s still a big berm covered in burlap waiting to grow new vegetation, which looked very industrial, but the river itself is back rolling through the bottom of the valley, cutting out its new path.

Elwha Dam 2013

During our trip we also attempted to get close to the upper dam site, the Glines Canyon Dam, but it was still undergoing deconstruction, and a wide area around the activities were closed to the public. We were able to have a picnic on the river below the Glines Canyon Dam site where the water was rushing past – looking almost like mud.

Below the Glines Canyon Dam

I posted a few more pictures of the Elwha at the T2E3 Facebook Page.

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