Glines Canyon Dam

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Glines Canyon Dam
Glines Canyon Dam
Location Olympic National Park, Clallam County, Washington, USA
Construction began 1925
Opening date 1927
Demolition date 2012
Dam and spillways
Impounds Elwha River
Height 210 ft (64 m)
Creates Lake Mills
Total capacity 40,500 acre·ft (50,000,000 m3)
Surface area 415 acres (168 ha)
Power station
Installed capacity 13.3 MW[1]
Glines Canyon Hydroelectric Power Plant
Glines Canyon Dam is located in Washington (state)
Glines Canyon Dam
Nearest city Port Angeles, Washington
Area 7 acres (2.8 ha)
Built 1927
Architectural style Other, Classical Revival, Neoclassical
MPS Hydroelectric Power Plants in Washington State, 1890--1938 MPS
NRHP Reference # 88002742[2]
Added to NRHP December 15, 1988

Glines Canyon Dam (also known as Upper Elwha Dam[3]), built in 1927, was a 210-foot (64 m) high concrete arch dam built on the Elwha River within Olympic National Park, Clallam County, Washington.

It was located 13 miles (21 km) upstream from the mouth of the Elwha River at the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and about 8 miles upriver from the Elwha Dam. It impounded Lake Mills reservoir. The dam was demolished in 2012 as part of the Elwha River ecosystem restoration project; as of 2015 it is the tallest dam ever to be intentionally breached.


The dam was built privately to generate electricity for industries and major military installations on the Olympic Peninsula, including lumber and paper mills in Port Angeles.

Effects of dam on river habitat and area ecology[edit]

Lacking passage for migrating salmon, Glines Canyon Dam blocked access by anadromous salmonids[4] to the upper 38 miles (61 km) of mainstem habitat and more than 30 miles (48 km) of tributary habitat. The Elwha River watershed once supported salmon runs of more than 400,000 adult returns on more than 70 miles (110 km) of river habitat. By the early 21st-century, fewer than 4,000 adult salmon returned each year.

Habitat restoration[edit]

Elwha river and dam locations

Numerous groups lobbied Congress to remove the two dams on the river and restore the habitat of the river and its valley. The Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act of 1992 authorized the US Federal Government to acquire the Elwha Dam and Glines Canyon Dam hydroelectric power projects for decommissioning and demolition for habitat restoration.

The Elwha Ecosystem Restoration project began removal of the dam, along with nearby Elwha Dam, in September 2011 and concluded on August 26, 2014. Now that the dam has been removed, the area that was under Lake Mills is being revegetated and its banks secured to prevent erosion and to speed up ecological restoration.


See also[edit]



  • Grossman, Elizabeth (2002). Watershed: The Undamming of America, Basic Books, ISBN 1-58243-108-6.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°0′7″N 123°36′0″W / 48.00194°N 123.60000°W / 48.00194; -123.60000