Rafters savor final whitewater season on Oregon’s Upper Klamath before dam removal

Rafters splash through the massive waves of the Upper Klamath River’s Hell’s Corner Canyon. 

Courtesy of Momentum River Expeditions

It’s last call for one of the West Coast’s most unique whitewater rafting trips this summer.

The Upper Klamath River, located southwest of Klamath Falls, Oregon, has taken rafters on thrill rides for the past four decades thanks to a system of dams that supplies dependable summertime water through the Class IV rapids of Hell’s Corner Canyon.

But the same dams that have made this rafting experience possible have also wrought havoc on the Klamath River’s salmon runs and ecosystem. They’re scheduled for removal beginning later this year in the largest dam removal project in United States history.

Without the water stored behind the dams and released at a specific time each day, river levels won’t be high enough for commercial trips through Hell’s Corner Canyon in summers after dam removal, local outfitters say.

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