18-023 Mountain snowpack affects springtime recreation at Dworshak

Published March 13, 2018
AHSAHKA, Idaho - Snowpack and lingering winter weather conditions in the Clearwater River Basin are putting a temporary freeze on some recreational opportunities at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir.

As of March 1, a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Snow Survey Program team reported Clearwater Basin snowpack at 123 percent of normal volume for this time of year https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/id/snow. The NRCS Snow Survey Program provides mountain snowpack data and streamflow forecasts for the western United States.

Currently, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir managers in the Walla Walla District plan to draw Dworshak’s reservoir surface level down to 1,445 feet in elevation, (155 feet down from full pool) to make room for anticipated snow-melt runoff and springtime precipitation inflows. This plan may change based on actual precipitation and snow melt.

Because the reservoir level is down and needs to be ready for potential flood-risk-management operations, most of Dworshak’s boat ramps do not yet reach the water. Currently, the Big Eddy Boat Ramp is the only location available for recreational boaters to launch their vessels. Dent Acres, Bruces Eddy, Freeman Creek, Canyon Creek and Grandad boat ramps are all currently unusable.

Recreation staff had planned on opening Dent Acres Recreation area for day use several weeks ago, but recent snowstorms, snow covered roads, reduced lake levels and repairing a broken main water line has required its continued closure.

Despite the effects of unpredictable winter conditions, Dworshak staff are optimistic that the recreation area will soon be ready for visitors.

“We are still planning to open Dent Acres Campground on April 10 in anticipation of spring turkey season,” said Lead Ranger Gus Garbe, “although, boat ramp availability will be subject to water levels at that time.”

Questions about Dworshak Dam and Reservoir recreation opportunities can be answered by Visitor Center staff by calling 208-476-1255. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for the most-current announcements about what’s happening at Dworshak https://www.facebook.com/dworshakdam.

Public Affairs Office

Release no. 18-023