Grant PUD reopens most of Wanapum Dam shoreline

Shoreline opened noon Wednesday; areas under construction still closed

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Wanapum upper boat launch.

WANAPUM DAM - Most of the shoreline behind Wanapum Dam reopened for public use at noon Wednesday.

Grant County PUD officials said some of the riverbank will remain closed due to ongoing construction or because portions of the bank remain unstable. Some boat launches are still above the water line and therefore unusable, according to a press release from the PUD.

The sites still closed include the Sand Hollow recreation area, the Vantage boat launch and day use, boat launches at Frenchman Coulee, Sunland and Yo Yo Rock. Also closed is PUD property along Tarpiscan Creek and Columbia Siding Road.

Quilomene Dune and Quilomene Bay are still closed, along with the Crescent Bar boat launch, portions of Crescent Bar Island and the West Bar.

The closed areas are still marked with signs, and PUD personnel and law enforcement officers will continue to patrol those areas, the press release said.

"Two boat launches are operational at the current river level, Grant PUD's Wanapum upper boat launch and the watercraft launch at Wanapum State Park just south of Vantage," the press release said. "With the reopening of the reservoir, Washington State Parks will open the Wanapum State Park launch for daily access from 8 a.m. to dusk."

The park is still on its winter schedule, with camping only on weekends and holidays, until March 1.

"Those visiting the shoreline and reservoir are cautioned to be aware that sections of the shoreline may still be unstable. Boaters should be mindful of shallow water hazards and heed all warning signs and barriers near the dam," the press release said.

The shoreline was closed and the water level dropped after the discovery of a crack in a spillway pillar at Wanapum Dam in February 2014, and remained closed through the summer and fall. As the repairs on the dam progressed the PUD raised the water level by 17 feet in late November.

That allowed the reopening of the shore, the press release said. Repair work is still underway, and the latest projection is that it will be completed by the end of March. "Grant PUD expects to have enough repairs finished to return the reservoir to normal operations by the start of the 2015 recreation season," the press release said.


Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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