As Lake Coeur d’Alene rises from the melting of snow from a record winter, the gates controlling massive amounts of water are cranked wide open.
Three dams dating back to before the 1900s control the flow the levels of water in Lake Coeur d’Alene which is the source of Spokane river. Running a course of 111 miles, the Spokane river empties into the Columbia river at Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake.
The center dam is a hydroelectric facility generating enough electricity to power 13,500 homes.
The gates are left wide open for now but as the water levels in Lake Coeur d’Alene drop and the inflows become a trickle, they will slowly be closed to maintain a balance between recreational needs and power generation.
Folks from all over the region come to the two surrounding park areas to witness the brute force of winter runoff.
From Q’emiln park, one can hike a steep trail right down to the edge of the raging mouth of the Spokane river that flows for 111 miles until it merges with the mighty Columbia river.