Record low Fall rains limit boat access on Lewis River reservoirs

With water coming into reservoirs at one-third of normal, only one ramp remains open

WOODLAND — Low water levels in the Lewis River drainage continue to impact boaters. The ramp at Yale Park is expected to be out of the water and unusable by Nov. 18.

Low water levels in the Lewis River drainage continue to impact boaters. The ramp at Yale Park, shown here in this file photo, is expected to be out of the water and unusable by Nov. 18. Photo by Mike Schultz
Low water levels in the Lewis River drainage continue to impact boaters. The ramp at Yale Park, shown here in this file photo, is expected to be out of the water and unusable by Nov. 18. Photo by Mike Schultz

The boat ramps at Saddle Dam Park, Cougar Park and Beaver Bay on Yale Reservoir and Swift Forest Camp ramp on Swift closed earlier in the year. Cresap ramp on Lake Merwin always closes for the season on Sept. 30. At this time, the only ramp still open on the three lakes is Speelyai on Lake Merwin.

Low snowpack and below average spring rains means water coming into the series of reservoirs managed by PacifiCorp is well below normal for this time of year. Statewide, the Washington governor has declared a drought. In addition, normal fall rains have not materialized.

Reservoir levels, even without the water conditions seen this year, are subject to available inflows and downstream flow requirements for fish and aquatic habitats. While reservoir levels are always subject to fluctuation, PacifiCorp recognizes the importance of recreational resources and balancing of recreation access with environmental requirements.

It is possible that November rains could improve the situation and make the Yale Park ramp usable again.

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