Greenhouse complex proposed for Clallam County park could nurture flora after Elwha River dams removed

Peninsula Daily News


Port Angeles, WA - Olympic National Park hopes to grow 1.4 million plants and 1.7 million shrubs at Clallam County's Robin Hill Farm Park to recover land now under water behind dams on the Elwha River.

A new national park greenhouse would be built on a five-acre tract at the 195-acre Robin Hill, located off Dryke Road just north of U.S. Highway 101 between Port Angeles and Sequim.

Three sites are under consideration: an open field in the park's northwest corner, an area at Vautier and Pinnell Roads, and off the park access road near the caretaker's residence.

All of the locations currently are gardens or pastures. The preferred location in the park's northwest section -- once the McCool Christmas tree farm.

``I think this is just a great use of the site,'' said Joel Winborn, county parks, fair, and building maintenance director.

Dismantling in 2008

Starting in early 2008, the 108-foot-tall Elwha Dam and the 210-foot-tall Glines Canyon Dam will be dismantled in stages, reopening 70 miles of salmon and steelhead spawning habitat.

The flora grown in the Robin Hill greenhouse complex will be used to replant the restored lake beds behind the former dams.

An estimated 18 million cubic yards of dirt and gravel have been trapped behind the dams over the past 93 years.

Olympic National Park Superintendent Bill Laitner said the park's native plant propagation program is recognized as one of the best in the Pacific Northwest.

Since its beginning in 1987, it has produced more than 400,000 native plants for revegetating damaged areas throughout the park, including the Seven Lakes Basin, Lake Constance, Hurricane Ridge and several sites along the wilderness coast.

The new greenhouse and nursery will provide an improved space for the park's revegetation program, and for the Elwha River restoration project.



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