Fish viewing set at McNary dam

Visitors will be able to take a gander at passing fish on Saturday mornings through Oct. 29.

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UMATILLA -- After years of limited access, McNary Dam's fish viewing room and navigation lock will be reopened this weekend for regular Saturday tours.

Tours of the areas have been restricted since 9/11. Since then, the facilities have been open only occasionally for educational visits.

The Washington Fish View Room and lock tours will be conducted from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through Oct. 29 by the dam's Natural Resources Management staff.

"The North Shore fish viewing room is considered the best vantage point from which to see adult salmon passing McNary Dam," Natural Resource Manager David McDermott said in a release. "We're glad to be able to offer this opportunity to the public, so they can once again see these incredible fish up close through the windows."

Visitors may also have the chance to observe vessels passing the dam through the navigation lock, McDermott added, although there is no guarantee a vessel will be locking through during the tour hours.

People wanting to take a tour will need to check in with the security guard at the north shore gate of McNary Dam on the Washington state side of the Columbia River, then meet with park rangers at the navigation lock.

Visitors 18 years and older will need to provide photo identification. Cameras, backpacks, cellphones, purses and large hand bags are not allowed inside secure areas of the dam and must be left in visitors' vehicles. Participants should wear sturdy walking shoes and expect to walk several flights of stairs.

Information is available from the McNary Natural Resources Management Office at (541) 922-2268.

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