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If the four Lower Snake River (LSR) dams are breached...

  • Q. What are the impacts to recreation on LSR reservoirs and at LSR dams?

  • A. Some activities that occur on reservoirs, such as certain types of boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing, could also occur on a river with near-natural flow.


    Sunbathing, Rock Climbing and Alcohol -- Lower Granite Lock and Dam Master Plan (2018)

    Granite Point is very popular with college students seeking a fun way to escape the heat. 6.4 CLIFF JUMPING GRANITE POINT RECREATION AREA

    The area around Granite Point (located near river mile 113) is a low density recreational area consisitng of a parking area, small shelters, and fire pits. The large granite rocks in this area are used by visitors for technical climbs as the top of the rocks provide a spectacular view of the river. This area is also a hot spot for weekend gatherings, usually including students from Washington State University and the University of Idaho. Many visitors use this area to consume alcohol and jump from the cliffs. Glass containers and cliff jumping are prohibited under Corps regulations, and this information is posted at the bulletin board in the recreation area. Corps park rangers spend a fair amount of time informing the public of these bans and issuing citations as needed. Additionally, many people like to swim across the river at this location, where the channel is narrower than in other areas. This can be extremely dangerous, especially when combined with alcohol use, as this is an active navigation channel with routine barge traffic. Some comments over the years have included requests that the Corps allow these types of uses in this area, but due to safety concerns, they will continue to be prohibited. Future visitor behavior will be monitored to determine if an alcohol ban also needs to be implemented.

    Granite Point and Downstream Pullout and Pullout at River Mile 114.5.
    These Low Density Recreation sites are associated with Wawawai Landing Recreation area. They are located upstream of the main parking area and boat ramp. Facilities located here include small shelters, picnic tables, fire rings, and a parking area to support Granite Point. The primary activities here are primitive camping and fishing, but during the summer months, visitors flock to Granite Point to sunbathe and rock climb.



    Quality Outdoor Recreation -- Lower Granite Lock and Dam Master Plan (2018)

    Aerial view of the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers from 1972 shows that swimming does not require a reservoir for safe enjoyment. 2.8.3 Recreation Use

    SWIMMING:
    During the hot summer months, swimming is a popular activity. Swimming occurs at the lake’s only designated swim area, Chief Timothy Park, and in undesignated areas adjacent to any sandy beach. Typically, the largest concern by swimmers is the lack of beaches along the shoreline of Lower Granite Lake, such as at Chestnut, Hells Gate State Park, and Chief Looking Glass.

    • Chestnut
      Chestnut Park is a day-use area located on the west bank of Lower Granite Lake in Clarkston, Washington. The area’s main features are the natural beach (once known as Clarkston Beach) and about 1 mile of the paved Greenbelt Trail. The Greenbelt Trail is a portion of the Clearwater-Snake River National Recreation Trail. Amenities include paved parking lots, a waterborne restroom, picnic sites, benches and an ADA accessible fishing platform. Activities include swimming picnicking, fishing, and the multiple uses of the national recreation trail.

    • Chief Looking Glass
      This outgranted park is located at 305 1st Street, Asotin, Washington. The park is managed by the City of Asotin. The Park is named for Chief Looking Glass, a Nez Perce war chief (1832-1877). Facilities include a waterborne restroom, parking, a recreation vehicle dump station, a football field, tennis courts, and picnicking facilities. The area also has a boat ramp, but it currently is unusable due to sediment build-up. The City is currently working with the Corps and other stakeholders to solve the problem. Once the sediment issue is resolved, it is anticipated that visitation will increase during the summer and fall to accommodate boating activity associated with fishing.

    • Hells Gate State Park
      Hells Gate State Park is the largest park area on Lower Granite Lake in terms of land area (over 700 acres). Facilities include a 112-slip marina, a multilane boat ramp, and a campground with 91 campsites, with 63 having full-service hook-ups. Additional amenities include an interpretive facility, five waterborne restrooms, a recreation vehicle dump, an amphitheater, a playground and 30 picnic sites. Visitation is highest from May to October. Primary activities include camping, boating picnicking, swimming, and fishing.
    • Lower Granite Lake
      Lower Granite Lake (impoundment) extends 39 miles upriver from the dam to the cities of Lewiston, Idaho, and Clarkston, Washington. The Corps constructed 8 miles of levees around Lewiston to help protect lives and property from potentially high water conditions created by the impoundment of Lower Granite Dam. The levees are considered appurtenances to (part of) Lower Granite Lock and Dam. The Lewiston Levees encompass the entire length of the city waterfront area along both the Snake and Clearwater Rivers.

      Visitation continues to increase as facilities and the area's population also increase. Lower Granite Lock and Dam is one of the most popular Recreation locations in the area due to its close proximity to the cities of Lewiston, Idaho (population 32,820 in 2017), and Clarkston, Washington (population 7,396 in 2017). Visitors use the area heavily for boating and fishing on Lower Granite Lake; bicycling, walking and exercising on the Clearwater-Snake River National Recreation Trail; and camping, picnicking, hunting, horseback riding, rock climbing, birding, and sightseeing throughout the project. There were over 2.3 million visitors at the Project in 2015.

    Since swimming would continue on the free-flowing river, the only recreation activities that would no longer occur following LSR dam breaching are waterskiing, tubing, wake boarding, and sailing. Hunting, birdwatching, wildlife viewing, nature study, sightseeing, baseball/softball, volleyball, archery, camping, hiking, jogging, walking, bicycling, picnicking, sunbathing, excercising, dog play, parties, weddings, RV parking, golfing, etc. would continue.
    3.3.4 Quality Outdoor Recreation (Intensive Use)
    Day-use activities that occur in the urban areas of Lower Granite Lock and Dam account for about two-thirds of the 2.3 million visitors each year. Day-use acitvities include picnicking, fishing, birdwatching, nature study, cycling, jogging, dog walking, boating, swimming, and large group events.

    3.3.5 Quality Outdoor Recreation (Low Density Use)
    Dispersed recreation activities that occur in the rural areas of the Project account for about one-third of the 2.3 million visitors each year. Continuing efforts to provide dispersed Recreation will allow visitors to participate in activities such as boating, primitive camping, fishing, hunting (in approved areas), horseback riding, hiking, nature study, bird watching, and wildlife photography.

    5.2 HIGH DENSITY RECREATION

    Asotin Boat Ramp: Parking for baseball and softball games, boating, fishing, swimming, and wildlife viewing.
    (bluefish NOTES: This is above the Lower Granite Reservoir which tells us that swimming happens on the free-flowing river.)

    Asotin Ball Fields: Two baseballfields
    Asotin City Park: Visitation is highest during the summer months when large groups reserve park facilities for special events such as weddings.
    Blyton, Nisqually John, and Wawawai Landings: camping, boating, and fishing. In the fall, the areas are also used as a staging area for hunting.
    Chief Timothy Park: boating, camping picnicking, swimming, playing, and fishing.
    Clearwater Park: The recreational use of the ponds is subordinate to the primary use, which is for short term storage of storm water runoff. Recreation facilities include two baseball/ softball fields, a waterborne restroom, and a fenced dog park.
    Gateway Park: Many visitors purchase lunch at nearby restaurants and relax at the tables.
    Granite Lake Park, Clarkston: golf driving range, a waterborne restroom, a group shelter, an amphitheater, a commercial dock, parking, and access to the Greenbelt Trail. Visitors use the site to access commercial boating tours, for special events such as weddings, to work on their golf swing, and to access the national recreation trail to conduct fitness activities.
    Granite Lake RV Park, Clarkston: 75 full service campsites, a waterborne restroom with showers, a clubhouse, and access to the Greenbelt Trail. Activities include camping, picnicking, and the multiple uses of the national Recreation trail.
    Greenbelt Ramp: boating, fishing, picnicking, and the multiple uses of the national recreation trail.
    Hells Canyon Marina, Clarkston: boating and fishing.
    Hells Gate State Park is the largest park area on Lower Granite Lake in terms of land area. Facilities include a 112-slip marina, a multilane boat ramp, and a campground with 91 campsites, with 63 having full-service hook-ups. Additional amenities include an interpretive facility, five waterborne restrooms, a recreation vehicle dump, an amphitheater, a playground and 30 picnic sites. Visitation is highest from May to October. Primary activities include camping, boating picnicking, swimming, and fishing.
    Lewiston Levee Parkway: the highest visited recreation area on Lower Granite Lake with visitors primarily involved in walking, jogging, bicycling, sightseeing, picnicking, and fishing.
    Offield Landing: camping, boating, and fishing. In the fall, the area is used as a staging area for hunting. This area is the least visited of all Lower Granite Lake high density recreation areas.
    Rotary Park: The only Recreation facility is a segment of the national recreation trail, and nearly all the Recreation activity is associated with the trail.
    Southway Ramp: boating, fishing, and the various uses of the nearby national Recreation trail.
    Steelhead Park (formerly Clearwater Ramp): Visitation tends to be high during spring salmon and fall steelhead fishing seasons. Boating and fishing are the primary activities.
    Wawawai County Park: camping and picnicking. Swallows Park: Amenities include waterborne restrooms, a couple of large group shelters, playgrounds, a volleyball court, and several picnic sites. The Park is utilized heavily during the summer recreation season, with frequent special events taking place.
    Swallows beach restora on is a high priority. The community has expressed health and safety concerns about the area, which was closed to the public in 2001 due to high fecal coliform counts. Project sta will coordinate compliance through the appropriate agencies, will con nue seeking partners, and will work to secure funding to complete the project.

    Asotin Slough HMU: Bird watching is a popular activity at this site, as is visiting the beach during the summer months. Because of the hunting restrictions, and the interest from birders, this site is often called the “bird sanctuary” by local residents.
    Chief Timothy HMU: Archery and shotgun hunting.
    Hells Gate HMU: Hunting at the site is restricted to archery and shotgun only because of the heavy use, and the fact that the City of Asotin is directly across the river from the HMU.
    Kelly Bar HMU: turkey, upland game bird, and deer hunting.
    Knoxway Canyon HMU: Smallmouth bass anglers use the embayment in spring and early summer. Upland game bird and deer hunters use the area during the rst week of their respective seasons in the fall.
    Lower Goose Pasture HMU and Upper Goose Pasture HMU (former Lewiston Dam): Originally, the intent of the sites was for goose brooding for young geese.
    Nisqually John HMU: The unit is heavily used by upland game bird and deer hunters.
    Sheep Gulch, Water Tank, and Wawawai HMUs: upland game bird hunting.
    Transmission Line and Wilma HMU: upland game bird hunters, and Wilma HMU is used for bow fishing, as well as shoreline fishing.
    upland game bird hunters, and Wilma HMU is used for bow fishing, as well as shoreline fishing.

    5.5.1 MRM–Low Density Recreation
    Asotin Boat Ramp: bird watching and hiking
    Evans Pond and Golf Course Pond Parking Lots: parking area, vault toilet, and kiosk for anglers at Evans and Golf Course Ponds.
    Granite Point and Downstream Pullout and Pullout at River Mile 114.5: SEE ABOVE on Sunbathing, Cliffjumping and Alcohol
    Hells Canyon Marina South Shoreline: used primarily by anglers.
    Lower Granite North Shore Tailrace: primitive camping, picnicking, and fishing.
    Nisqually John HMU Parking Lot: hiking and hunting. The parcel also serves as a primitive camping overflow during deer hunting season.
    Pullout at River Mile 120.5: picnicking and fishing.
    Tammany Creek Parking Lot: hiking and hunting.
    Alpowa HMU: waterfowl and game bird hunting
    Asotin Creek HMU: Management emphasis of this area is invasive species control.
    Centennial Island HMU: attracts many boaters during the summer months. Leave No Trace camping is permitted on the upstream end of the island outside of the waterfowl nesting season.
    Confluence Island HMU: shoreline anglers and waterfowl hunters.
    Critch eld Quarry HMU: Management emphasis of this area is invasive species control. Critchfield is also home to a large population of sagebrush mariposa-lily, a state-listed species.
    Evans Pond HMU and Golf Course Pond HMU: Ponds at both locations are stocked with rainbow trout by WDFW every spring and are fished heavily by the visiting public. Trash can be problematic at these sites, although local groups have often volunteered to help clean up the HMUs.
    Granite Point HMU: The boundary of this area is not well marked, and this area is subject to agricultural related trespass and encroachment. Lack of fencing contributes to the conflict that occurs between hunters and neighboring land owners. Upland game and deer hunting are authorized in the area. Deer hunting typically takes place in the draws using black powder and modern firearms.
    Moses HMU: shoreline fishing is the primary activity in the lowland portion of Moses, upland gamebird hunting is the preferred activity in the upland portion.
    Nisqually John HMU: fishing and some upland game bird hunting.
    Sheep Gulch HMU: Management emphasis of the area is invasive species control.
    Silcott HMU: Some upland game bird hunting occurs in the area, but opportunity may be limited due to homeowner safety concerns.
    Steptoe Canyon HMU: Bow fishing and shoreline fishing are common activities that occur in the embayment at the mouth of the canyon.
    Tammany Quarry HMU: Management emphasis of this area is invasive species control.
    Transmission Line HMU: Management emphasis of the area is invasive species control.
    Water Tank HMU: Management emphasis of the area is invasive species control.
    Wawawai HMU: Management emphasis of the area is invasive species control.
    Wilma HMU: Management emphasis is invasive species control. Some upland game bird hunting occurs in this area.

    Boating on Lower Granite Lake is a primary activity for many visitors. Much of the boating is related to fishing; however, waterskiing, tubing, wake boarding, sailing, jet skiing, kayaking, and canoeing are also important boating activities. Virtually the entire length of the reservoir is designated as part of the Northwest Discovery Water Trail. Additionally, boating provides an efficient means of transportation and allows hunters to gain access to more remote wildlife habitat areas.

    Fishing activity would greatly increase once salmon and steelhead runs are restored.

    8.2.3 Recreation Recommendations
    . . .
    Visitor safety and security concerns have been expressed by the public. The problem stems from unsupervised juveniles and an increasing transient popula on. Alcohol, drug usage, and mental health issues typically are catalysts for crime being perpetrated in Corps parks. Project sta will con nue to provide visitor assistance patrols and work with local law enforcement partners. Addi onal security measures that may be taken include installing gates on parks to control access during periods of darkness and placing security cameras in high incident areas.


    The EFFECTS Recreation and Tourism -- FR/EIS Summary (February 2002)

    Graphic: Lower Snake River dams combined with their Compensation Plan hatceries are the high cost producers of the FCRPS. The lower Snake River, its reservoirs, dams, and adjacent shorelines offer both land- and water-based recreational activities. Water-based recreational activities include fishing, water-skiing, boating, windsurfing, and swimming. Boat launch ramps, beaches, marinas, and other facilities have been developed to support these activities. Landbased activities such as picnicking, camping, hunting, and hiking are also popular and take place at facilities along the reservoirs. The dams and reservoirs are also important recreational sites, receiving significant numbers of visitors throughout the year. Powerhouse tours and adult fish viewing are popular visitor activities at the dams. There are 33 developed recreational sites around the lower Snake River reservoirs. Approximately 2 million visitors use these facilities each year.

    . . .
    Alternative 4—Dam Breaching
    Breaching the four dams would change current developed recreation areas and dispersed recreation sites, as well as recreation activities and visitation. The existing reservoirs would be replaced by a river with near-natural flow. Some activities that occur on reservoirs, such as certain types of boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing, could also occur on a river with near-natural flow. However, 29 of 33 developed recreation areas would either be closed or would require extensive modifications. Many current dispersed sites dependent on water access or viewing would no longer be used, but new dispersed sites would develop in the future as the river shoreline stabilized and beaches and views developed. Water-based recreation activities would change from flat-water to river-oriented and use patterns would shift over several years. After an initial decrease in use, both recreational fishing and general recreation would be expected to increase within 10 years as the river is restored and if fish respond to regional salmon recovery efforts. Recreation use surveys were conducted to project the number of visitors and associated value under each alternative. The analysis based on the results of these surveys identified net average annual recreation benefits of $71 million under Alternative 4. This benefit reported in the Final FR/EIS was revised (down from $82 million in the Draft FR/EIS) after additional analyses were conducted in response to comments received from independent technical reviewers, the public, and government reviewers. This value does not directly correspond to local expenditures by visitors. Rather, it represents a measure of the utility that visitors would obtain from the near-natural river recreation experience.



    Breaching is reversible, extinction and ecosystem collapse is not.

    The concept of sustainability has been increasingly brought into focus as we have become convinced that all systems on earth are interrelated and that many of today’s problems were the solutions of yesterday. Sustainability is, however, a very old concept. Most American Indian cultures understood the importance of sustainability and sustainable development, living in harmony with all things.

    Many people are familiar with the Seventh Generation philosophy commonly credited to the Iroquois Confederacy but practiced by many Native nations. The Seventh Generation philosophy mandated that tribal decision makers consider the effects of their actions and decisions for descendents seven generations into the future. There was a clear understanding that everything we do has consequences for something and someone else, reminding us that we are all ultimately connected to creation.

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