WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Beginning Friday, Sept. 16, recreational boaters can lock past U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams on the lower Snake and Columbia rivers almost any time during daylight hours, officials with the Corps’ Walla Walla District announced.
However, Lower Granite Lock and Dam will be closed to recreational lockages only on Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. while electrical maintenance is performed. Commercial vessels only will be able to lock through during those hours using the floating bulkhead system.
The change from scheduled locking times to ‘on-request’ lockages occurs seasonally, summer and winter, to accommodate changing volumes of river traffic, according to District navigation officials. During the winter lockage season through May 14, 2012, recreational vessel lockage requests can be made only during daylight hours at Walla Walla District’s navigation locks on the Columbia and lower Snake rivers at these locations:
McNary Lock and Dam Columbia River Mile 292
Ice Harbor Lock and Dam Snake River Mile 9.7
Lower Monumental Lock and Dam Snake River Mile 41.6
Little Goose Lock and Dam Snake River Mile 70.3
Lower Granite Lock and Dam Snake River Mile 107.3
Commercial vessels continue to have lockage precedence over recreational vessels. Recreational vessels may be allowed to lock through with commercial vessels at the discretion of the lock operator.
All vessel owner/operators lock through at their own risk. Everyone in the vessel must be wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) during lockage. Boaters must follow the directions of the lock operator when using the locks or operating in the vicinity of the locks. The lock operator has final authority regarding the suitability of a craft for lockage. This on-request seasonal lockage schedule is also in effect at the Corps’ Portland District navigation locks on the Columbia and Willamette rivers.
Boaters should refer to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Safe Lockage Policy for Recreational Craft on the Columbia and Snake Rivers for additional safety requirements. Public Notices, the Safe Lockage policy and other Walla Walla District navigation lock information are available at www.nww.usace.army.mil/html/offices/op/t/navdata/default.html.