Wanapum Reservoir reopens to the public - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wanapum Reservoir reopens to the public

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EPHRATA, Wash. -  After the Grant Public Utilities District raised the Wanapum reservoir by 17 feet in December, the utility and state have reopened it to the public Wednesday.

Grant PUD started raising the reservoir on Nov. 25 and finished on Dec. 1. After a roughly one-month long evaluation, the utility will restore public access to most of the shoreline.

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.  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. 

Camping at the park is still on its regular winter schedule, open for camping only on weekends and holidays until March 1. The park will resume a daily operating schedule for campground and day use facilities after March 1, for the 2015 season.

The following recreation-site locations on the reservoir are still closed because of currently unusable boat launches, unstable shorelines or ongoing recreation site improvements:

  • Sand Hollow Recreation Area
  • Vantage Boat Launch and Day-Use Area
  • Frenchman Coulee Boat Launch
  • Sunland Boat Launch
  • Yo Yo Rock Boat Launch and Recreation Area
  • Quilomene Dune and Bay
  • West Bar
  • Crescent Bar Boat Launch and portions of Crescent Bar Island
  • Grant PUD property in the Tarpiscan Creek area
  • Grant PUD property off Columbia Siding Road
Closed shoreline areas are marked with no trespassing signs. Grant PUD workers and law enforcement will continue to patrol and enforce trespassing laws in these locations.

If you're visiting the shoreline and reservoir, the utilities district says some sections of the shoreline may still be unstable. Boaters should be careful of shallow-water hazards and heed all warning signs and barriers near the dam. Grant PUD is still keeping an eye on the conditions on the shoreline and will make an announcement if the situation changes.

The entire shoreline and access points were closed to the public in March, 2014 after Grant PUD had to draw down the reservoir by 26 feet because of a crack that was discovered on the Wanapum Dam Spillway. After completing enough work to stabilize and re-enforce the spillway, the utility received permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to raise the reservoir.

Work continues on the Wanapum Dam spillway, and Grant PUD expects to have enough repairs finished to return the reservoir to normal operations by the start of the 2015 recreation season.

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