Olympic park's Elwha River freed after last dam blasted out
Nothing but rubble is left of the dams blocking the Olympic Peninsula's Elwha River, as the last bit of concrete structure was demolished this week.
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Nothing but rubble is left of the dams blocking the Elwha River in Olympic National Park, after the last bit of concrete structure was demolished.
The Elwha River is free to travel its own path for the first time in a century, The Peninsula Daily News reported /p>
The final 30-foot section of the Glines Canyon Dam was destroyed by an explosion at 4:12 p.m. Tuesday. Crews with Barnard Construction Inc. of Bozeman, Montana, detonated charges at the site.
Olympic National Park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said the debris from this week's blasts will be hauled away over the next few weeks.
"It's done," said Maynes. "We accomplished what was planned."
The Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River was completed in 1927. The older Elwha Dam, which was completed downriver in 1913, was destroyed earlier this year.
The once-210-foot-tall Glines Canyon Dam is located 13 miles from the mouth of the Elwha River in Olympic National Park.
Downriver from Tuesday's blast, the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe celebrated the victory.
"It's a good day. It was the last spot (blocking the) fish to access the rest of the river," said Robert Ellefson, the Elwha restoration manager for the tribe.
"It has been the dream of tribal members for a hundred years," Ellefson said.
The tribe will celebrate the river's full opening in July 2015, during the traditional ceremony to welcome the Chinook salmon back to the Elwha River, he said.
Removing the 30-foot-tall stub of the dam was the last structural piece remaining of the $325 million Elwha River restoration project, which began in 2011 and will continue through 2016.
The destruction of the 108-foot Elwha Dam began in September 2011, and it was completely removed by March 2012.
Information from: Peninsula Daily News, peninsuladailynews.com