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Commentaries and editorials

Removing Dams, Bringing Back Recreation

by Bob Triggs
The Seattle Times, July 28, 2009

Snake River dams: What would removing them do?
Letters to the Editor

Ice Harbor Lock and Dam is about 10 miles up the Snake River from its confluence with the Columbia. It's among the dams that some suggest should be removed to allow restoration of the river system's natural state. Editor, The Times:

I am a professional fly-fishing guide on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. I read Lance Dickie's recent column on the Snake River dam removals ["Reservoirs of uncertainty behind the Snake River dams," Opinion, July 24] with great interest.

As the column pointed out, the promises of a great economic boon to the region, as a result of building the dams, never materialized. Much of the river traffic engaged in shipping and barging comes at an unrealistic cost. The dams themselves have done more to harm the environment and the economy than they have ever done to contribute anything positive to the domestic life of the region.

The benefits of removing these dams are virtually guaranteed; a free-flowing river would bring recreation, paddling, river trips, scenic adventures, birding, camping and fishing back to the region.

All of these activities have one great thing in common: They do not damage the quality of the water or the environment, and they take nothing away but memories. Though this may seem a small contribution, recreational angling alone counts as a multibillion-dollar contribution to our economy already.

Add to this the benefit of increased cash flow and social culture to the Lewiston and Clarkston communities and the potential for a vast improvement in the fishing life of the tribal stakeholders, and it is hard to understand why the politicians are dragging their feet. Dam fools!

Related Pages:
A New Twist in Dam Removal on the Snake River by Lance Dickie, The Seattle Times, 7/23/9
Deja Vu on the Columbia by Paul VanDevelder, Los Angeles Times, 7/25/9
Saving the Columbia and Snake River Salmon by Paul VanDevelder, Los Angeles Times, 7/6/9
The Northwest Salmon Debate by Greg Delwiche, The Seattle Times, 7/2/9

Bob Triggs, Port Townsend
Removing Dams, Bringing Back Recreation
The Seattle Times, July 28, 2009

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