The Elwha River Restoration Program is one of the few restoration programs that serves both as a visionary, successful effort to restore a watershed from the headwaters to the estuary—and as a model for what may be accomplished by dam removal. Essayist and poet Tim McNulty, Vice President of the Olympic Park Associates writes of this incredible process in his “Letter to America.”
Thus far the hopes for the river to come back have been realized. Unexpected is the very dynamic changes in the river. As the Elwha finds its natural course it traverses the valley floor, and impacted a mile of the access road and campgrounds. OFCO supports the goal of full restoration of the Elwha watershed, including access for recreation and research purposes, and is asking the Olympic National Park (see Project page here) to prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement to better ensure that the new bypass road is designed and constructed to minimize impacts to the river, its fisheries, threatened and endangered species, historic sites and cultural resources, and to the mature and old-growth forest in the Project area. See OFCO’s comments here.