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Dworshak Reservoir full; July 4 outdoor fun awaits visitors

   Dworshak Reservoir reached its full-pool elevation, 1,600 feet, on Thursday, and recreation facilities are ready for Fourth of July visitors, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park managers announced this week.

   Dworshak Dam and Reservoir offers a variety of outdoor summer fun opportunities during the July 4 holiday – boating, camping, water sports, swimming, fishing, hiking and more. 

   “All campgrounds and boat ramps are open for use,” said Paul Pence, Dworshak natural resources manager. “And, the bass and kokanee fishing have been great!”

   Dent Acres Campground sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Visitors can call Dworshak recreation staff at 208-476-1255 to obtain campsite availability information.  Visitors who arrive early can pay to reserve sites for friends and family yet to arrive. Sites cost $18 per night and offer full-service amenities of 50-amp electric, water and sewage disposal.  As a federal campground, the Golden Age Passport and the America the Beautiful Senior Passport are accepted -- both allow a 50-percent discount on camping fees.

   The Corps invites visitors to come use the recreation facilities at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir, but it's important to remember to leave some things behind, according to Corps recreation officials -- fireworks of any kind are prohibited in all the Corps' parks and on its lands across the Walla Walla District. Restrictions aren't intended to limit visitors' ability to celebrate, but rather to help all visitors enjoy an incident-free occasion.

   The Corps and law enforcement officials will be patrolling facilities through the holiday, according to Deb Norton, Lead Park Ranger for Dworshak Dam and Reservoir. “The last thing our rangers want to do is to have to issue citations to fireworks-policy violators, but they will if necessary in order to keep all of our visitors safe. We hope everyone will recognize the very real risk that fireworks pose in a forested environment and appreciate that safety is everybody's responsibility.”

   In addition, the reserving of mini-camp sites along the Dworshak Reservoir shoreline is prohibited.  Early placement of camping equipment at mini-camp sites in an attempt to save a spot for the July 4 holiday can result in the removal of the camping equipment or a citation.

   Please, enjoy the reservoir safely this weekend by taking the following precautions:

   Changing weather conditions can create unsafe situations on open water.  Know the weather and have a float plan.

   Keep life jackets on children while on or around the water.

   Don’t let small children out of your sight.

   Check the serviceability of your boat.

   Ensure properly fitting, accessible and serviceable life vests are available for each occupant on your boat. Better yet, wear them.

   Before proceeding at higher speeds, familiarize yourself with the area you will be boating as there may be floating woody debris or rocks, stumps and shallow areas not visible from the surface.

   When boating on the reservoir, please use caution because lake levels can change quickly – anchor your boat in water deep enough to avoid beaching and leave enough slack in your anchor line to avoid sinking should lake levels fluctuate up or down.

   Campfires should be made using established fire rings only.

   The Dworshak Dam Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The center offers a variety of interpretive displays and movies about Dworshak and the history of the area, including the popular “Last of the Log Drives.” For more information, call the Dworshak Dam Visitor Center at 208-476-1255 or 800-321-3198.