Weather hinders recreation in Pend d’Oreille

One of the region’s favourite campsites is slated to remain closed until investigations about a recent landslide have been completed.

One of the region’s favourite campsites is slated to remain closed until investigations about a recent landslide have been completed.

A total of 10 sites in Buckley’s Campground southeast of Trail were evacuated more than two weeks ago after a contractor noticed “instability” in an area of land that sloped toward the campsite.

He immediately notified the campground manager about the changes and it triggered a fast response: campsite closure.

Although a closure had never happened at the campground before, said BC Hydro spokesperson Dag Sharman, the timing of the closure—before the August long weekend—couldn’t have been worse.

But Mother Nature was the culprit, not the man-made structures in the area. A total of 22 campsites were unavailable during the B.C. long weekend.

“The issue was a result of extreme rain—it had nothing to do reservoirs,” he said.

A geotechnical report has been issued and the closure will remain in effect until further notice. And BC Hydro expects to receive in-depth analysis from the report, allowing the area to undergo stabilization.

According to the latest river report, the Columbia River has come down another two feet—and three feet last week—from its high of approximately 215,000 cubic feet per second on July 22 from the Hugh Keenleyside Dam.

“We were waiting for a thorough geotechnical analysis to determine whether it was safe to allow folks back in there,” he said, alluding to an ongoing geotechnical analysis in the area.

A slope above the area in the campground received heavy rainfall during in mid July and was weakened, said Sharman, according to a report received by a campground contractor in the area.

The potential for slope instability was reported to the BC Hydro regional manager at Seven Mile Dam, immediately prompting evacuation of the campground until the geotechnical analysis could be done.

Buckley Campground is situated on BC Hydro’s Pend d’Oreille Reservoir. The reservoir serves not only as a source of hydroelectric power, but as a recreational area for camping, picnicking, swimming, boating, canoeing, wildlife viewing and fishing.

BC Hydro has advised that reservoir levels can change rapidly (up to six metres each day), resulting in exposed shoals or anchored debris.

For more information about the area, visit http://www.bchydro.com/community/recreation_areas/pend_d_oreille_recreation_area.html.