By Susan Hollingsworth

A whole month has slipped by and the construction at Northwestern Lake bridge, a step in the removal of Condit Dam, has barely been noticed.Last raft to float by the Northwestern Lake Bridge closure.

In just 5 days, another event in the deconstruction schedule will come into play. This time, it is not merely a sliver of Northwestern Lake that will be closed, but the entire body of water, from the bridge all the way to the dam.

Not just a step in construction, this will bring a century of flatwater recreation on the White Salmon River to a close.

Timeline of Big Days in the Removal of Condit Dam

August 10, 2011: Northwestern Lake will be lowered approximately 6 feet from full pool level.

August 15, 2011: The tranquil waters from Northwestern Lake bridge to Condit Dam will be closed to all forms of watercraft.

August 15ish, 2011: Water level will again be drawn down to prepare for tunnel construction.

End of September: Boater take-out at Northwestern Lake Park will reopen as bridge construction is fully demobilized. (Boat ramp at Condit Dam will likely remain closed.)

End of October: Dam breach, drain reservoir, and unveiling of the “lake” stretch of the White Salmon River.

Alternate Flatwater Recreation Locations

The tranquil Northwestern Lake, soon to connect the upper and lower stretches of the White Salmon River

Along with the removal of Condit Dam goes a valuable recreation resource, Northwestern Lake.  If it is the tranquil water experience you seek, alternate opportunities are not far away.

Rowland Lake, located on Highway 14 just east of Bingen, is large enough to paddle around for hours and boasts less wind exposure than Northwestern Lake.  Wet Planet’s kayak school often opts to take beginner kayak course students here, as wind can add an extra element of frustration to an potentially exhausting day.  

Lost Lake, situated on the slopes of Mt Hood on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, offers a deeper wilderness setting for your flatwater recreation.  With no motor boats allowed on the lake, your day on the water will be as calm and pristine as the surrounding Mt Hood National Forest.  Visit the Lost Lake information page for more details.

Kayakers learn skills at Rowland Lake during a beginner kayak course.At the event site in Hood River, Oregon, where the Hood River meets the Columbia River, calmer water provide many Stand-Up Paddle boarders (SUP) the placid water experience.

While the White Salmon River will no longer offer a flatwater option, the Columbia River Gorge has no lack of recreation opportunity.  Need other ideas?  Give us a call and we can help you navigate the wonders of the Gorge.

Don’t miss the opportunity to float hundreds of feet above the future water level of the White Salmon River during the final days of lake access on Northwestern Lake.

Dip your paddle into the deep expanse, glide over the silky and calm body of the water, and imagine how the river will soon reclaim its natural path far below.

For the most recent updates in construction schedule visit PacifiCorp’s Condit Decommissioning Activities website.

Susan Hollingsworth, writer and kayak instructor, is excited to see the transition of the White Salmon River.