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Temporary Closure of White Salmon River Access (WA)

Posted: 11/22/2011
By: Thomas O'Keefe

PacifiCorp has announced that they have closed the river access at Northwestern Lake Park (the take-out for the Lower White Salmon run) due to the dynamic river conditions associated with Condit Dam removal and ongoing downcutting of sediment in the vicinity of the take-out.

PacifiCorp released the following statement earlier today:

Please be advised that White Salmon River conditions near the Northwestern Lake Bridge and Northwestern Lake Park are changing almost every day.  The river has cut it’s bed down approximately 12 feet and this cut continues to move upstream. It has also revealed previously unknown hazards within the river course (see attached picture).  The river bank at this location is very steep and not conducive to raft take out.  PacifiCorp and JR Merit are monitoring the site and once it looks like the course has stabilized we can assess adjusting the slopes for boater take out. Until then and per PacifiCorp’s Recreation Management Plan that states “River conditions and the former reservoir will be monitored after the dam breach and, if conditions develop that pose a threat to public safety, the boater take-out at the park will be temporarily closed until conditions are deemed safe by JR Merit and PacifiCorp Energy. Notification of closures will be made to the U.S. Forest Service.” PacifiCorp will temporarily close the ramp until further notice. We have notified by phone message Sue Baker of the U.S. Forest Service.

American Whitewater continues to work with PacifiCorp and we support this action as a common sense short term measure to protect public safety. Since this access point is the only public access for the lower run downstream of Husum Falls we recommend that paddlers avoid this reach for the time being. PacifiCorp will be reopening this access as soon as possible and hopefully in early spring once things have stabilized a bit. The timeline for developing a more permanent access solution at the Park will likely be in fall 2012.

In their Recreational Facilities Plan associated with dam removal PacifiCorp writes:

It is expected that Northwestern Park will continue to function in much the same capacity after project removal efforts have been completed. The boat access point will be configured based on final contours in the vicinity of Northwestern Park during the 2012 summer. The purpose for the new boat launch is to provide both take out and launch capability for whitewater boats.

You can read the full plan here:


Thomas O'Keefe

3537 NE 87th St.

Seattle, WA 98115

Phone: 425-417-9012
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