Outdoors

Boundary Dam campground closed during dam repairs

Boundary Dam forebay on the Pend Oreille River, photographed in 2011. (Seattle City Light)
Boundary Dam forebay on the Pend Oreille River, photographed in 2011. (Seattle City Light)

CAMPING/BOATING – A second season of maintenance at Boundary Dam has forced the closure of the dam’s forebay campground, possibly through August.  But the work also brings the prospect of another major draw down of the Pend Oreille River reservoir that could once again expose Metaline Falls in August or September.

Click here for my slide show of last summer's drawdown and the rapids it exposed.

Meantime, Seattle City Light expects to keep access to the boat launch open Seattle City Light expects to keep access to the boat launch open throughout the work this summer, though some short restrictions might be needed.

Specially designated parking areas will be available within the recreation area, but parking spaces closest to the boat launch and construction area will be closed.

 Read on for more details.

Seattle City Light is rehabilitating a 312-ton sluice gate, which is used to seal the dam from the outside so maintenance work can be done on any of the dam’s sluice gates, which open and close to control the amount of water in the reservoir.

It has been 27 years since the maintenance gate was last removed for its own maintenance.

The gate was removed last September and a temporary building was constructed for the maintenance work, which includes high-pressure abrasive blasting to remove rust and paint from the gate, applying a new finish, taking down the temporary building and replacing bearings and wheels on the gate before it can be put back on the dam.

“The construction activities that are going to be going on are loud, dirty and a potential safety concern to the general public, so it would not be wise to keep the campground open,” Boundary Dam Generation Supervisor Lonnie Johnson said.

Seattle City Light expects to keep access to the boat launch open throughout the work, though some short restrictions might be needed, Johnson said.

Parking for vehicles and boat trailers will be affected by the construction work. Specially designated areas will be available within the recreation area, but parking spaces closest to the boat launch and construction area will be closed.

Boundary Dam on the Pend Oreille River in northeast Washington provides about 60 percent of the power City Light produces for its customers.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States.  It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents.  City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

There will be another drawdown in late summer or early fall when we put the sluice maintenance gate back on the dam.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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