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April 8, 2013 at 9:45 AM

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"Elwha: A River Reborn": Book about historic project now available

The world's largest-ever dam removal comes to life in Elwha: A River Reborn, a new book from the Seattle Times and the Mountaineers Books.

Created from years of national award-winning reporting and photography by Seattle Times staff writer Lynda V. Mapes and staff photographer Steve Ringman, Elwha: A River Reborn features more than 125 photographs, graphics, maps, extensive interviews, field work, and historic research to tell the story of taking two dams out of the Elwha River on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, to restore a legendary salmon fishery.

An unprecedented bet on the healing power of nature, Elwha dam removal is opening 70 miles of fish habitat dammed for more than century in one of the boldest restoration actions anywhere.

You'll learn how a once crazy idea backed by a bunch of Indians and tree huggers became a mainstream national cause, backed by Congress in a $325 million restoration that took a generation of politicians, activists, and concerned citizens to pull off.

See some of the first published photographs of the Elwha unleashed, and the emergence of a new world reborn.


This March 2012 photograph shows an excavator perched on a barge, chipping away at the Glines Canyon Dam. Lake Mills is in the background.

Come celebrate publication with us at book signing events scheduled throughout April and May all over the region. We'll read some favorite passages, show slides of Steve's incredible photos, and take your questions on the environmental restoration watched around the world.

  • April 26: Port Angeles Library book reading and slide show sponsored by Port Book & News 7p.m.
  • May 8: Mountaineers Program Center hosts the exclusive Seattle launch at 7:30 p.m. to highlight the history of the Mountaineers and Seattle Times coverage of the Olympics. Book reading, slideshow, Q&A and post-lecture book signing. The Mountaineers: 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115. Tickets (which are free) can be ordered here.
  • May 22: Village Books in Bellingham, 7 p.m. Book reading, slideshow and book signing. 1200 11th St., Bellingham, WA 98225. Village Books digitally records all author events for airing on the local radio stations KMRE-LP 102.3 & KAVZ-LP 102.5.
  • May 30: Peninsula College, Port Angeles, 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Little Theatre, on the Peninsula College Campus: 1502 East Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles, Washington 98362
  • June 5: Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, 7 p.m. Book reading , slideshow, signing: 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, 98155.
  • June 11: Elliott Bay Bookstore at The Seattle Public Library downtown, 7 p.m. Book reading, slideshow, signing.
  • Nov. 22: Exhibit opening at The Burke Museum, University of Washington.

Available wherever new books are sold, Elwha: A River Reborn may also be purchased online from the Seattle Times.


In this August 2010 image, a rainbow trout works its way upstream on a side channel of the Elwha River in the Geyser Valley, above two dams that were later removed. All oceangoing fish had been blocked from the river since 1910.

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