The Tribe is the lead for revegetation activities for the area surrounding Lake Aldwell. This area is culturally important to the Tribe. There is a historical village location and the Creation Site that has been covered by the man made reservoir. The Tribe refers to this area as the “project lands”. The lands lie outside Olympic National Park (ONP) boundaries and during deconstruction the land is managed by ONP. The act allows for four entities to consider having the lands transferred to them, of the four entities the Tribe remains committed to obtaining these lands for protection of the river and the natural resources that use the watershed. It is approximately 1100 acres.

Quotes from Tribal Members regarding Dam Removal

"It's not just about taking the dams out, or even just putting the fish back. It's about the whole picture, the human population, marine predators, overfishing, the works. If the system is addressed, then maybe restoration will work."      --George Bolstrom, Elwha Ancestor

Bea Charles and Norm Dicks. Photo by Bob Boardman Ancestor Beatrice Charles, "We cherished it, and we respected it....We didn't waste it, we used every bit of it....I may not see the abundance of fish come back in my lifetime, but I would like  to see it come back for my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, and the rest of my people, the following generations to come. It was a gift from our Creator, it was our culture and heritage."           


There have been many Klallam people, including previous Tribal councils that have worked hard toward reaching the milestone of removing the Elwha Dams. The Tribe's actions toward dam removal are only following in the footsteps of our ancestors and former Tribal leaders requests and have included many trips to Washington D.C.

This story is about the fish. We used to have salmon and other species out there, and we want them back and revived for our children, and our children's children. The Tribe looks forward to the return of the chinook, and the abundance of fish from the stories our ancestors have been telling us about since the dams went up.

The Tribe looks forward to the unveiling of sacred sites that have been covered for years. The Tribe takes pride in the protection of our environment in honor of our ancestors, Elders, and future generations. (2010)

Ancestor Frank Bennett II, “I’ve fished here all my life. Those dams ruined this river. It use to be, you didn’t even need a net. You just walked into the river, and it was so thick with fish you could scare them onto the riverbank and pick them up.” (2000)

"It's about dam time! Aye! My dad use to work at the dams, at least he would have gave us a warning if the dam broke, so i'm glad they are coming down, not only for the danger, but to help bring the fish back also ( :" -Margie "Maudie" Sampson
"Well I have heard stories from my dad that Grampa Phil said the fish use to come in so thick that you could walk across the river on their backs. Then when the dams went in with no fish ladders it broke so many peoples hearts. The talk of taking them down has been for so long and I know there is so much to do to prepare for that but our precious federal government has been promising to do that for well over a decade and they are still there. Bummer since one of them should not have been built in the first place from what I had heard so it should have been taken down decades ago."
-Ben Charles Jr.

“Take these dams out, and this river will become healthy. Mother nature is quite amazing,” he said. “She has the capacity to heal herself quickly. I hope I will see it in my lifetime. Many of the elders who want to have already passed. I wish they could see it too.” -Tribal member and former River Restoration Director Michael Langland

Learn about the First Salmon Ceremony