Doug Hamlin

1702 days ago

It took a nearly six-figure helicopter ride for an excavator, some frustrating bureaucratic jujitsu, sleepless nights and lucky weather, but Jantzer and others managed to avert the immediate crisis by modifying the dam before it failed.

Now the excavator, marooned amid a dispute over how to get it out, is a symbol itself of the water problems deep in Pacific Northwest wilderness.

How a crumbling dam in the Enchantments could change our understanding of the PNW wilderness

After a summer wildfire scorched a lake in the popular Enchantments area, spring runoff threatened to overwhelm the lake’s dam and flood homes below. The crisis highlighted aging, little-known dams in precious Washington wilderness and shows how climate change could reshape alpine water supplies.