The closure of recreation areas along Wanapum Reservoir, caused by a drawdown of the water level, is expected to extend at least through the July 4 weekend.
Grant Public Utilities District and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife are reminding visitors that the Columbia River reservoir shoreline is still closed to the public. The closures will certainly impact Memorial Day weekend.
Working with the department, the utility has closed the shoreline, beaches, boat launches and all shoreline access points to the reservoir, which runs about 37 river miles between Wanapum Dam and Rock Island Dam.
The closures are a result of the reservoir drawdown that took place after a fracture was found Feb. 27 on the Wanapum Dam spillway. The shoreline is expected to be closed at least through the Fourth of July weekend.
The Grant PUD sites that are closed are: Vantage Recreation Area, Kittitas County Boat Launch, Rocky Coulee, Sand Hollow, The Cove, Apricot Orchard, Crescent Bar boat launch and shoreline area, Wanapum Upper Boat Launch and Wanapum Heritage Center.
Shoreline sites managed by the state agency that are closed are Yo Yo Rock, Old Vantage Highway, Sunland Estates boat launch and Frenchman Coulee/Climbing Rocks water access sites.
Also closed are the lower ends of roads that lead into the reservoir at the Colockum and L.T. Murray wildlife areas in Kittitas and Chelan counties, and at the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in Grant County. The upland portions of the wildlife areas above the ordinary high-water level remain open to the public.
Washington State Parks has closed the Wanapum State Park near Vantage.
There are several alternatives open on the Priest Rapids Reservoir on the Columbia River downstream of Wanapum Dam, including Priest Rapids Recreation Area and the Wanapum Lower boat launch. The utility district also plans to open the Huntzinger boat launch May 23 to provide access to Priest Rapids Reservoir.