By Susan Hollingsworth

With no river access to Northwestern Lake Park from July 5th – Sept 28, 2011, the White Salmon River community was beginning to get worried.New temporary take-out for White Salmon River users

Private boaters grew anxious about not being able to paddle the stretch of the White Salmon River between Husum Falls and Northwestern Lake. Cabin owners along the lake grew worried that river traffic would begin trespassing and creating make-shift take-outs. Commercial rafting outfitters grew tense about losing half of their primary whitewater rafitng stretch of river for the busiest time of the year.

Luckily, the Forest Service and PacifiCorp have come to save the day. With capes flapping in the wind, these two groups have created a solution to assuage the concerns of all stakeholders.

A temporary take-out for all Lower White Salmon river traffic (commercial and private) has been established just north of the Northwestern Lake bridge, on Cabin 12’s property.

Temporary take-out for the Lower White Salmon River, from July 5 - Sept 28, 2011The raised platform ramp is just upstream of the bridge. Due to the ramp’s proximity to the construction zone, a boat barrier will be placed in the water at a 45 degree angle to funnel boaters into the new take-out.

While information spreads throughout the boating community like a wildfire, the Forest Service is also taking extra steps to be sure all White Salmon River recreationists know about the new traffic patterns.

Signs will be placed at:

  • Northwestern Lake Park
  • Three separate put-in locations (BZ, Husum, and Rattlesnake most likely)
  • 1,000 ft upstream of the new take-out ramp

Vehicles can still be parked at Northwestern Lake Park. For ease and efficiency of loading, a loop turnaround will allow for “hot loading.”

All public use areas and easements will be clearly marked, helping to avoid any additional conflict with neighboring cabin owners.

Helpful hints to make this temporary process smoother:

1. Be quick and efficient when loading in the loop turnaround. In the busiest days of summer, many people will need to make use of this thruway. Be kind to your fellow boaters and get your gear out of the river and onto your vehicle as quickly as possible. Commercial outfitters will be sure to do the same.

2. If kayaking, consider walking across the road to load your boat in the Northwestern Lake parking lot, rather than drive your car into the loop-turnaround.  Look both ways and respect vehicle traffic.

3. Only use designated take-out options. While some busy days may cause back-ups, try simply floating and enjoying the beautiful day rather than forging your own trail through private property.

4. Tell all your boating friends. Spread the word and relationships between rafters, kayakers, and cabin owners will remain friendly.

5. Give the owner of Cabin 12 a big high-five.  Bake him a pie, take him down the river in your raft, or knit him a hat.  As an entire community, we need to express our gratitude for opening up his property to enable us to play on our favorite Pacific Northwest whitewater river.

6. Enjoy your last few months on Northwestern Lake and get ready for a new stretch of river and the removal of Condit Dam!

The White Salmon river will soon have a new path to flow!

PacifiCorp is estimating bridge construction to last through September 28th. It may be possible to use the standard Northwestern Lake take-out after that, although stay tuned for updates later this summer.