The Elwha and the Dams
RV Park owner happy about coming dam removal project from the Peninsula Daily News, 5/31/11
A short history of the Elwha by Pat Neal
from the Peninsula Daily News, May 31, 2011:
PORT ANGELES — The Elwha Dam RV Park is keeping its signature name — even though in three years, the Elwha Dam will be no more.
Bobbi Fuller, owner of the recreational vehicle park, is basking in the attention the project is receiving and can’t wait for the tear-down to begin Sept. 17.
“Our slogan is, ‘Best RV park by a dam site',” Fuller, 68, said last week.
“It will always be the site of the old dam, so it will still be the best RV park by a dam site,” Fuller quipped.
A major step occurs in the removal of the Elwha Dam and its sister edifice, the Glines Canyon Dam, at 8 a.m. June 1st when the dams stop providing electricity to the Bonneville Power Administration — in effect, eliminating their reason for being.
The intention of the $327 million Elwha River Restoration Project is to unblock the river, returning the river to its wild state, to bring back the waterway’s storied salmon run.
The 18-acre, 40-space RV park is at 47 Lower Dam Road in Port Angeles, and is adjacent to Olympic National Park, the Elwha River and Juan de Fuca Scenic By-Way Hwy. 112 where the lower of the two dams is located.
An overlook is planned near the RV park on Lower Dam Road so visitors can watch the 11-story dam being dismantled....
S'Klallam man drying fish
The first historic reference to the Elwha was in July of 1790 when the Spanish Captain Manuel Quimper purchased berries and salmon “of a hundred pounds” from the natives off the mouth of the river. The Nootka Convention gave Spain and England the right to trade in the area. Both countries raced the Russians and the Americans to claim land, establish settlements and find the Northwest Passage, a fabled water route that was believed to cross North America.
In May of 1792 the American Captain Robert Gray discovered and named the Columbia River after his ship. This gave the United States a claim to the same vast lands that the Europeans had already colonized. Gray traded some nails to the Columbia River people for 450 sea otter and beaver skins that were worth a fortune in China. This ignited a global trade, where metal, gunpowder and alcohol were traded for furs on the Northwest Coast that were traded in China for tea, silk and spices for markets in Europe and Boston. In 1800 Spain ceded its claim to France. They sold out to the Americans who, in 1818 bluffed England into a joint occupation of Oregon, or what we now call the Pacific Northwest. It was a land the American squatters were soon to take over.
The Hudson Bay Company was forced to move its headquarters north from Nisqually to the new city of Victoria in 1843. In 1849 HBC trappers John Everett and John Sutherland paddled across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Victoria to Crescent Bay. They were adopted by the S’Klallam. Sutherland and Everett trapped in the Northern Olympics, discovering and naming Lakes Sutherland and Everett which was renamed Lake Crescent....
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