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Posted on Jan 7, 2015

Grant PUD reopens Wanapum shoreline

About 10 months after the Grant PUD closed to the public the 75 miles of shoreline along the Wanapum Reservoir, the utility has reopened the majority of the shoreline for recreational use.

The shoreline was officially reopened at noon on Wednesday.

Two boat launches are operational at the current river level: the PUD’s Wanapum Upper Boat Launch and the watercraft launch at Wanapum State Park, 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.

A portion of the shoreline remains closed because of inoperable boat launches, unstable shorelines and ongoing recreation site improvements. Closed shoreline areas are marked with no trespassing signs. Grant PUD personnel and law enforcement officials will continue to patrol and enforce trespassing laws in these locations, said Chuck Allen, PUD spokesman.

Among the portions remaining closed are the Crescent Bar boat launch, which is inoperable, and portions of the island. Other recreation sites remaining closed are:

  • 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
  • Grant PUD property in the Tarpiscan Creek area
  • Grant PUD property off Columbia Siding Road

The PUD cautioned those visiting the shoreline and reservoir 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 PUD stated.

Since the shoreline was closed in March, utility and law enforcement officials made more than 1,000 contacts with people on the shoreline, Allen said. However, the vast majority of people cooperated when contacted and only a handful of tickets were written, he said.

“We really are thankful for the public’s patience and understanding,” Allen said.

The entire shoreline and access points were closed to the public last March after Grant PUD had to draw down the reservoir by 26 feet in response to a 65-foot long fracture discovered on the Wanapum Dam spillway. After completing enough work to stabilize and re-enforce the spillway, the utility began to raise the reservoir on Nov. 25. It has raised by 17 feet, or to its minimum operating level, by Dec. 1.

Work continues on the Wanapum Dam spillway, and Grant PUD expects to have enough repairs finished to return the reservoir to its full operating level by the start of the 2015 recreation season, Allen said.

“That’s going to help with some of the boat launches that are still closed (because) they are inoperable,” he said.

 

— By Jill FitzSimmons, editor@qvpr.com

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