After nearly a century, the White Salmon River in Washington has been freed, opening a popular whitewater paddling run to natural water flows. On October 26, engineering blew up Condit Dam, which had constricted the flow of the river and covered a large stretch of the river bed since 1913.
“New and improved recreational opportunities have emerged on other rivers that have been restored through dam removal,” said American Whitewater’s Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director, Thomas O’Keefe, in a statement on the non-profit’s website. “The removal of Condit, however, is the first major removal on a river as popular as the White Salmon, and we’re excited to see how the river’s ecosystem will respond and recreation opportunities will expand.”
The initial breaching of the dam opened up many miles of river that were previously covered by Northwestern Lake, offering new habitat for salmon and steelhead and 5-miles of potential whitewater for kayakers, canoeists and rafters.
The video above shows the initial breach of the dam. Ka-pow!