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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Contact: Dave Reynolds, 360-565-2985
Effective immediately, the exposed reservoir areas of Lake Aldwell and the remaining Lake Aldwell are closed to public use.
This emergency closure is designed to protect the public from hazardous conditions caused by the draining of Lake Aldwell and removal of the Elwha Dam and associated structures. The log boom that prevents boats from drifting over the dam will be removed at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, October 21. Without the log boom, there is no barrier between the remaining reservoir and the swiftly moving river as it flows over and down the new diversion channel. These factors make the area around the dam extremely unsafe for boating and other forms of recreation.
Once the log boom is removed, the raft of large logs behind it will move downstream with the river. Anglers and other downstream river users are urged to use caution around the river in the coming days and to be on the lookout for logs moving downstream.
The historic slack waters of Lake Aldwell are changing to a delta environment with swift water conditions. River channels with steep banks are changing rapidly, are unpredictable, and hazardous to visitors. Access around the remaining reservoir is therefore closed to vehicle, bicycle, foot traffic, and boating.
However, boaters and rafters coming down the Elwha River may enter the extreme upper reaches of the reservoir to take out. Camping, extended stays, or loitering in the area is prohibited.
In a related development, a power outage is scheduled for the Elwha Valley area of Olympic National Park on Wednesday, October 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This temporary outage will allow workers to safely dismantle old transmission lines and poles associated with the Elwha Dams.
People can stay informed about the dam removal process by following the Dam Removal Blog and webcams at the Olympic National Park website.