October 31, 2014
Contact: Barb Maynes
The Elwha dams are both gone and the Elwha River is flowing freely through Glines Canyon and Olympic National Park. A newly completed accessible parking area and viewpoint will open to the public on Friday, October 31.
The ten-space parking area and viewpoint can be reached by following the gravel Whiskey Bend Road about one mile south from its intersection with the Olympic Hot Springs Road.
"We are very please to invite people to experience Glines Canyon from a new perspective," said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. "The dam's east abutment now provides an excellent viewpoint, where people can enjoy views of the canyon, river and former lake bed."
The abutment, completed in 1927 as part of Glines Canyon dam, also provides a glimpse into the history of the dam itself, providing a view of the former dam's spillway and west abutment.
A 0.3 mile trail, built by the Elwha revegetation crew, leads from the parking area to the former lake bed. To avoid sinking into the fine muds of the old lake bed, the crew reinforced the path with metal walkways which become slippery when wet.Visitors are urged to use care when walking on the path and to stay at least 20 feet from the river at all times.
"The former lake bed is extremely dynamic, with rapidly shifting sediments," cautioned Superintendent Creachbaum. "People should stay at least 20 feet from the river at all times."
"The former Lake Mills has been the focus of extensive revegetation efforts -- to aid the restoration process and honor the work of our many volunteers, we ask that people avoid stepping on plants while exploring the old lake bed."
The Olympic Hot Spring Road remains closed to all entry at the gate just above Altair Campground. Crews are currently making repairs to the Olympic Hot Springs Road and anticipate re-opening the road to the Boulder Creek Trailhead by the end of November.Although the road and trailhead access will be open, the Glines Canyon parking area and former boat launch will remain closed while park crews continue to make safety and visitor access improvements.
More details and a definite opening schedule will be released soon.
Background and more information about Elwha River Restoration is available at the park's website, https://www.nps.gov/olym/naturescience/elwha-ecosystem-restoration.htm