Offered by Stewwardship Network of the San Juans

Elwha River Dam Removal & Restoration: A Photographic Journey

Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 6:00 pm

On October 24, 2012, the Elwha River flowed free again for the first time in almost 100 years. On this overcast afternoon, the base of the Glines Canyon Dam was notched low enough that its impoundment Lake Mills ceased to exist, and the river was free. Naturalist and photographer Eric Kessler explores how the river came to be dammed, the impact to the Olympic Peninsula and its near shore environment, and the long remarkable journey that led to the first chunks of cement being removed on September 17, 2011.

The process of un-damming the river has set the stage for restoring one of the Olympic Peninsula's most unique and important salmon runs. Surprisingly it has also presented an opportunity for different cultural and political groups to forge a vision of a healthier Northwest. Eric Kessler will explore how the seeming tragedy of damming the Elwha River has been a powerful conduit for restoration on many levels.

Eric Kessler, San Juan Island resident, has been guiding, exploring, and photographing the Elwha River for 35 years. He studied the natural history of the Olympic Peninsula at The Evergreen State College, and stumbled into a career as a naturalist walking guide in the Olympic National Park in 1995. His conservation, documentary, and adventure travel photography has been published internationally. He is currently working on a writing/photo project of the Elwha River.