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Canyon Falls, Sunset Falls, & PUD's Plan to Dam Them

Sunset Falls, March 27, 2013


Come experience firsthand the majesty of Sunset and Canyon Falls on the South Fork Skykomish River at peak spring flows. This reach of the Skykomish River was added to the Washington State Scenic River System in 1977 due to its extraordinary beauty and lush fish and wildlife that depends on the river for survival. It remains one of only 4 rivers in Washington designated a State Scenic Waterway 36 years later.

Now PUD No. 1 of Snohomish County proposes to install an inflatable dam and divert much of the flow from these magnificent water falls that will reduce them to trickle and harm fish. Power generation from this dam will not justify its cost or environmental damage to endangered species such as Chinook Salmon and Bull Trout. PUD will spend $150 million to generate power for less than 10,000 homes. Just think what $150 million could do if it were invested in solar panels! This site has been proposed for hydroelectric power five times in the past; and each time was rejected due to environmental issues.

Normally, this area is not open to the general public; however the Save the Skykomish River group has generously arranged access for us. There will be little hiking on this outing, however you will need to be able to walk on slippery rock, and crawl over rip rap. The trails down to the river are short, but very steep.

Bring water and a picnic lunch to eat on the gravel bar below Sunset Falls.

Meet at the west side of the direct access ramp onto Interstate 5, Lynnwood Transit Center, April 21, 2013 at 9:45. We will leave at 10:00 am.

Please no pets.

Become an informed rate payer and help stop this unwise project. For more information to save the falls campaign, visit the Save the Skykomish River website at:

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  • Allison

    I can't make it, but I did sign the petition to save the river!

    April 20, 2013

  • Kristi D.

    oops, conflicts with another hike.

    April 12, 2013

  • Kristi D.

    I live in Redmond - nearest cross streets are Novelty Hill and Redmond Ridge Drive. It looks like it would be closer to meet everyone there. Am I right, and is it OK for me to do that?

    April 12, 2013

  • William L.

    Treela, I received your e-mail and thanks for your feedback. It sounds like this is not the outing for you. Not all Sierra Club outings are hikes in the mountains or wilderness areas; some like the Canyon/Sunset Falls or Forgotten Creek outings are to educate, increase environmental awareness, and possibly help member's become more environmentally active. As the announcement states, “Become an informed rate payer and help stop this unwise project.”

    The announcement states an estimated return time of 5 pm; however, we cannot always guarantee exact return times as we may decide to linger longer to enjoy or observe an experience. If you have other pressing obligations that require an exact return time, you can always drive yourself and leave the outing early or pass on an outing.

    We hope to see you at other outings.

    April 8, 2013

  • William L.

    The roads that we will be driving on are immediately adjacent (within a 100' or so) to the river, but some of the trails are very steep to get down to the viewing areas and require a little agility to get down. One trail has ropes that you can hold onto to help steady yourself.

    The rocks down by the river can be slippery when wet. We will stay well back from areas where you can fall into the river. At Sunset Falls, you will need to scramble over some large riprap boulders below the road to get to the flat river bank below the falls where we will be on gravel and cobble rocks (see photo above).

    April 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    You say there won't be much hiking. Can you explain what the event will entail, how much distance will be covered, and/or approximately how long the event will be? I'm interested, but would like to know more.

    April 6, 2013

  • Victoria

    The 1's a maybe.

    April 4, 2013

  • Colleen H.

    I'm sorry. I got the date wrong. I cannot make this hike. How do I undo my RSVP?

    April 4, 2013

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