Ice Harbor 50th Anniversary celebration and Open House Saturday

Published June 14, 2012
Visitors encouraged to arrive early to park on south end of dam and ride shuttle buses

. – The public is invited to Saturday’s 50th anniversary celebration of completion of construction of Ice Harbor Lock and Dam near Burbank. Ice Harbor was dedicated on May 9, 1962, by then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson after several years of construction by the Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its contractors.

A large crowd is expected. An Ice Harbor open house last year attracted more than 1200 visitors. Parking and access to the dam are from state route 124 on the south shore of the Snake River, several miles east of Burbank. Visitors in wheelchairs are welcome and can ride a special shuttle bus. No access to the event is available from the north shore.

The celebration begins at 10 a.m. at the dam’s south end with a ceremony featuring speakers and patriotic music by the 204th Army Band from Vancouver, Wash. After the ceremony, an open house featuring guided tours of the dam will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The keynote speaker is Col. Robert A. Tipton, who takes command of the Northwestern Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Portland tomorrow. The Division includes the Walla Walla District plus four other districts headquartered in Portland, Seattle, Omaha and Kansas City. Walla Walla District Commander Lt. Col. David A. Caldwell is also featured at the event.

The day’s festivities mark U.S. Army Corps of Engineers efforts to build the first Corps dam on the Snake River, which initiated commercial traffic in the lower 40 miles of the Snake River while also allowing for fish passage and migration. When the Corps subsequently constructed three more dams on the Snake by 1984, Columbia-Snake Rivers commercial traffic could reach the new inland seaport of Lewiston, Idaho.

The nation’s initial investment in Ice Harbor Lock and Dam was significant. Construction costs for the dam, navigation lock, two fish ladders, powerhouse and six hydropower generating units totaled about $217 million.


MEDIA ALERT: If you plan to cover the celebration event ON Saturday, June 16, contact Bruce Henrickson in Walla Walla District Public Affairs at 509-527-7017 before 3 p.m. Friday, June 16, to facilitate access and reserved media parking. Corps personnel will not be available for interviews until after the 10 a.m. ceremony. Also note that Ice Harbor Dam event parking is NOT at Sacajawea State Park or the Corp’s Hood Park as it was when President Bush visited Ice Harbor several years ago. All parking, including media parking, is down the hill as you approach the dam, near the river.

Public Affairs Office

Release no. 12-58