A couple of weeks ago, White Salmon local Steve Stampfli and I waded through chest-deep poison oak along the shore of Northwestern Lake with one very cool toy--a solar powered, weatherproof timelapse camera system. We were headed to a clearing just below the 125 foot tall Condit Dam, set to be packed full of dynamite and demolished later this fall to open the White Salmon River for fish migration and whitewater paddling for the first time in 100 years.
Our plan is to document the whole thing--from the explosion this fall, to the dramatic draining of the reservoir, and the gradual recovery of the White Salmon to a healthy freeflowing ecosystem. We're guessing the whole process will take somewhere between two and five years. And we've now got two cameras set up that will be firing one photo every daylight hour until the action is over: One camera is directly below the dam looking upstream, the other is about 0.3 mi upstream of the dam looking down. Both angles will be incredibly fun to watch, as the river directly upstream of the dam is expected to turn into a deep whitewater canyon, possibly filled with class IV rapids and waterfalls. What's below the lake is anyone's guess, but fortunately we only have to wait until the end of October to get our first glance!
Stay tuned to the project blog for updates and to see timelapse clips as the action begins: http://whitesalmontimelapse.wordpress.com/