Rock and Roll – Elwha, Be Free!


Demolition underway at 210 foot tall Glines Canyon Dam | Credit: Amy Kober

It was really special to be a part of the Elwha dam removal celebration last weekend.

These people and quotes have stuck with me, and I wanted to share them with you:

Frances Charles, chairwoman of the lower Elwha Klallam Tribe:

We’re numb. Excited. No words can explain what we’ll feel when we see that machine rock and roll, taking that brick out of there.

Senator Bill Bradley:

We have been brought together by the power of a River. We are collected here tonight, in one place for a few hours, like the way the River collects pebbles in a bar on a bend in the river… We have been brought here, in this grouping, at this time, by the power of the River. The honor we share tonight is profound. Enormous things are about to happen. We have waited a very long time to be here. It is a grand, magical moment.

Salmon and stone and water — together again. This time let it be for all time.

In less than the lifetime of a Chinook, the Elwha is going to be a free river again. In less than the lifetime of an alder or willow, the Elwha is going to renew itself to be not only free again, but truly wild, truly natural, truly, finally, again, as it was at creation when its fresh cold water first met the sea.

The reflection you see in the Elwha is an image of what our country is capable of.

Actor and American Rivers board member Tom Skerritt

We can remove a dam, but the river will be the story in the end. Elwha be free!