The View From Forever
Hurricane Hill is an astounding hike along Hurricane Ridge at Olympic National Park, outside Port Angeles, Washington. Special for me there is the sight of the source of the Elwha River, plunging in a plume of white water off the glaciered sides of Mount Olympus.
For the first time in more than 100 years, the Elwha River is once again free flowing, after completion of the largest dam removal project ever anywhere in the world, to restore the watershed from the mountains to the sea. The $325 million effort, approved by Congress in 1992, took decades to bring about, and the courage of many conservationists and especially the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the native people of this place who got the least from the hydroelectric dams, and paid the most, in the loss of the salmon runs in the river that had sustained them for millennia.
Taking out the dams opened 70 miles of spawning habitat to ocean going salmon and steelhead trout for the first time in a century. To open so much habitat with one action is very unique. To learn more about the restoration, read my stories in the Seattle Times.