"People are hungry for positive news, and these river restoration stories are so
inspiring," said Amy Kober, senior communications director for American Rivers. "Our
goal with the video was to share the good news and help people celebrate, and hopefully create
some renewed appreciation for healthy, free-flowing rivers.”
”One of our objectives with this series of films was to highlight the different individuals
who have a personal connection to these rivers,” said Thomas O’Keefe, Pacific
Northwest Stewardship Director for American Whitewater. “These two projects have been
decades in the making, and we are thrilled to celebrate the success of river restoration from the
perspective of those who are out enjoying these rivers.”
“As a paddler and adventure filmmaker, having the chance to witness and document these dam
removals has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career,” said filmmaker Andy
Maser. “My hope is that these films will continue to build momentum for more dam removals
and support the efforts of people on the ground working hard to restore free-flowing
rivers.” Maser is also working on a long-term timelapse project
documenting the removal of
Condit Dam and the restoration of the White Salmon River and surrounding ecosystem.
The removal of two dams on the Elwha River — the largest dam removal project in history
— began in September and is expected to take two to three years. Demolition of the White
Salmon River's Condit Dam began with a dramatic blast in October, and will take one year.
The rivers are already beginning to restore themselves. Once the dams are completely removed,
salmon and steelhead will have access to upstream habitat for the first time in 100 years. The
Klallam people on the Elwha and the Yakama on the White Salmon will have vital parts of their
culture and heritage restored. The free-flowing rivers will also create new fishing, paddling,
and other recreation opportunities.
The film features advocates who were instrumental in taking down the dams, and people connected
to the rivers who will benefit from dam removal. The characters include Phyllis Clausen of
Friends of the White Salmon; Heather Herbeck, a White Salmon whitewater guide; Rob Elofson, River
Restoration Director for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe; Shawn Cantrell of Seattle Audubon; Rick
Rutz of the Mountaineers; and Bruce McGlenn, a fisherman.
is a National Geographic Explorer based in Portland, Oregon.
View Previous Films in Our Series