The Story of the Columbia Basin Project
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Visitors to the Columbia Basin Project are always welcome. For their convenience a tour center is located adjacent to the project's largest multipurpose structure, Grand Coulee Dam. The center offers lectures on the construction of the dam and a taped pictorial presentation of the irrigation project, as well as restroom facilities, a lounge, and an unobstructed view of the dam.

Tours of the dam are on a self-guided basis, allowing each visitor to set his own pace. These tours may be taken any day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the winter months, and from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the summer.

One of the major attractions at Grand Coulee is the dam's right power house, located on the east bank of the river. Here the visitor can see the generators, turbines, and transformers performing their daily jobs. The top of the dam is open to both pedestrians and passenger vehicles.

In the dam's pumping plant, which houses the giant irrigation pumps that lift the irrigation waters of the project 280 feet up from Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake to Banks Lake, a large talking topographical map and a series of murals and displays about the room explain the Columbia Basin Project, its purpose, its past, and its future.

When the spillway is in operation, usually beginning about Memorial Day and lasting through the summer, a colored floodlighting program is presented nightly. This system of 742 amber, green, blue, red, and white lights operates in conjunction with a recorded musical program, bathing the dam in an aura of music and color. The lights and music run from dusk to midnight during the summer.

Scattered elsewhere throughout the project are a host of other picturesque and instructive sights partially described in this booklet. They include the waterways and irrigation structures of the project area—the miles of river-wide main canal, gigantic siphons, and the many reservoirs and seep lakes. There are valleys of checkerboard fields and orchards and a range of topography unmatched in this region. Each year these sights are viewed by thousands of tourists and an increasing number of groups. For additional information concerning the specific location of sights to be seen on the Columbia Basin Project, or on any of its activities, please feel free to contact the project headquarters in Ephrata.

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Last Updated: 01-Feb-2008