Float the White Salmon River

Gorge Owned (GO!)’s Sense of Place series kicks off Sunday with a lecture and float on the White Salmon River.

GO!, Wet Planet Rafting and Kayaking and watershed planner Jeanette Burkhardt invite the public to a guided float down the lower White Salmon River on Sept. 29. The float aims to educate participants about the events leading up to the breaching of the Condit Dam and the transformation that’s been occurring there ever since.

When the Condit Dam was breached in October 2011, a century’s worth of pent-up fury, silt, gravel, organic matter and water-drunk logs were unleashed through the drain hole, likened by one Yakama tribal member as the “freeing of wild horses.” Since then, salmon and steelhead have returned to the river, signaling the start of a new phase for the White Salmon basin — one in which the human inhabitants are playing a key role.

During the guided Sense of Place rafting trip, Burkhardt will explain some of the challenges — including climate change and increasing development — facing the basin. Burkhardt, a watershed planner for the Yakama Nation Fisheries program, has been involved in salmon recovery planning, land use planning, education and restoration projects in the White Salmon Basin since 2005.

The Sense of Place rafting trip begins and ends at Wet Planet Rafting and Kayaking, 860 Highway 141 in Husum, Wash. The five-hour trip begins at noon and the cost is $40. Space is limited. To register, go to GorgeOwned.org. Wet Planet Whitewater Center will donate 50 percent of its proceeds to GO!

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