Dosewallips State Park Suffers Major Upheaval

Imagine our shock when we came out of the tunnel only to view what looked like total destruction on this side of the campground.

Dosewallips State Park

On the western shoreline of Hood Canal, like an inland ford found in Norway, is the Washington State Park of Dosewallips. The park gets its name from the river, which borders the park’s northern boundary. There are plenty of activities to be found both in the park and the immediate area. The Olympic National Park and Forest are a stone’s throw away, with numerous peaks, waterfalls, and old-growth forests to explore.

However,  you don’t have to leave the park to enjoy the outdoors. Miles of trails meander through the hills, giving access to waterfalls and deep green forests. We found the remnants of a homestead in the form of a small spillway build on a small creek. I’m assuming it was created to provide the residents with drinking water during the dry season. I’m sure there is much more to be discovered as well.

Roosevelt Elk in Dosewallips State Park
Roosevelt Elk are often observed both in the park and adjoining fields.

Our Surprise

Once we got set up in our campsite, we decided to go for a walk and head over to the far side of the campground. This campground has Highway 101 bisecting it with a tunnel passing underneath the highway providing access to the eastern half. We’ve dry camped over on this side which sits against the Dosewallips River delta. It’s usually closed in the winter but opens in the summer season.

 

Imagine our shock when we came out of the tunnel only to view what looked like total destruction on this side of the campground. The river appeared to have flooded its banks and washed away 75% of the campsites.

Like much of the country, Washington has been experiencing severe weather, from abnormally high King Tides to major 100-year river floods.

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Imagine our shock when we came out of the tunnel only to view what looked like total destruction on this side of the campground.

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Salmon Recovery Project

The next day we returned for a closer look, and that’s when I noticed some items that seemed off. What first looked like chaos had a certain symmetry. Passing a ranger later, we asked about it and were informed that it was all planned as part of an effort to recover the Dosewallips River salmon run.

 

Salmon restoration is a complex process that typically involves several steps. While the specific steps may vary depending on the region and the particular restoration project, here are some general steps that are often followed:

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  1. Assessment of the current status of the salmon population: The first step in salmon restoration is to assess the current status of the salmon population in the area. This typically involves gathering data on population size, distribution, genetic diversity, and habitat quality.
  2. Identification of limiting factors: Once the current status of the salmon population is known, the next step is to identify the factors limiting the population’s growth and survival. These factors include habitat degradation, water pollution, overfishing, and other human activities.
  3. Development of a restoration plan: A restoration plan is developed based on the information gathered in the first two steps. This plan typically includes specific actions to address the identified limiting factors and improve the habitat conditions for the salmon population.
  4. Implementation of the restoration plan: The restoration plan is implemented by carrying out the actions outlined in the plan. This can include habitat restoration projects, regulation of fishing activities, and the introduction of hatchery-raised salmon.
  5. Monitoring of the salmon population: Throughout the restoration process, the salmon population is monitored to track changes in population size and distribution, genetic diversity, and overall health. This information is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the restoration actions and make any necessary adjustments to the restoration plan.
  6. Outreach and education: Finally, outreach and education activities are often conducted to raise public awareness of the importance of salmon conservation and restoration and to encourage support for ongoing restoration efforts.

It’s important to note that salmon restoration is a long-term process that requires ongoing monitoring and management to ensure the continued health and sustainability of the salmon population.

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