Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Dam We Didn't See

So, it's been a plan of mine for a while now that one of these weekends or holidays we'd drive up the Green River to see the Howard Hanson dam. After all, it might be interesting to see for ourselves what kind of shape it was in, and whether we shd immediately be re-arranging everything in the box room and garage for a potential flood, especially since we'd just seen reports that it'd degraded much more than expected in the first half of this year.

Yesterday --a warm, sunny day rounding off a holiday weekend -- we decided was a good time to actually do it. Janice printed out driving directions from Google Maps and I dug out my various roadmaps so I cd navigate, and off we headed, naturally packing a thermos of tea for the trip. We went out through Covington, and followed the Kent-Kangley road almost all the way to Kangley, as far as the Green River Headworks Road.

And there, just a mile or so down the road alongside the river, we came to a halt when we got to the signs and barricades forbidding entry to non-authorized vehicles. Nothing in the things we'd researched online warned us about this, and it brought us up short. So, we made it to within three or four miles of the dam, but were not able to see it -- and, as it stands, there seems to be no prospect of our getting to do so anytime in the foreseeable future.

Not that it wasn't a nice drive out there and back, and while we were in the area we took advantage of that and visited the Kanaskat-Palmer Park, where we got to wade in the Green River near some mild rapids at one point and on a wide slightly submerged shelf opposite a cliff with a deeper channel at its foot (sort of half-a-gorge).

Here's a link with a picture of the dam; the two links under "History" have some interesting information about The Old Days before the dam was there when, like the Red River down in my part of the country, the Green River used to overrun its banks on a regular basis.

--John R.


bluewoad said...


If you need any help moving stuff, just let me know. I and my free slave labor (ie, my teenage sons) could come out and help get stuff moved upstairs (or anywhere else) should the threat of flooding become more dire.


John D. Rateliff said...

Thanks Matt. Luckily, with the current dry season, it's not likely to be something we'll need to worry about till the winter wet sets in. Here's hoping they take a few steps between now and then to try to head this off.
If not, we might be taking you up on that . . .
--John R.