Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Unconquering the Last Frontier. An Elwha Documentary
With removal of the Elwha dams set to start this weekend it seems a fitting time to reflect on the history of the dams and the impact they've had on the fate of Port Angeles, The Klallam Tribe and the river itself. Unconquering the Last Frontier is a documentary about the Elwha dams and the hard work done by the Klallam tribe, Park Service and local residents to push for dam removal. Not surprisingly, there was significant resistance to idea of removing the two dams. Many of the people interviewed in the film still play an important role on the Elwha including Brian Winter and Pat Crain of the National Park Service and Mike McHenry, Elwha Tribal biologist. The film is long but well worth watching for its historic perspective on the Elwha recovery and as a testament to all that has been accomplished in the watershed.
No doubt we have a long way to go towards ensuring that wild fish are allowed to recover free from the impediment of industrial scale hatcheries but that should not take away from the triumph that is dam removal on the Elwha and the blood, sweat and tears that have been shed to bring the project this far.