Seattle City Light announced cancellation of its very popular Skagit Tours and Dam Fine Dinner program for 2010.
“We regret having to cancel the tours,” Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “The tour program has operated since 1928 and is enormously popular with City Light customers and employees and with visitors from all over the country and world. However, the difficult budget years in 2009 and 2010 and ahead in 2011 leave us with no better options.”
This is only the third time in the 82-year history of the tours that they have been canceled. The last time was in 2002 as a result of the financial impacts of the energy crisis and the heightened security issues following the terrorist attack of 9-11. The tours were reinstated the following year.
“The tours are educational and recreational, providing visitors with important information about our hydroelectric operations while enjoying the beauty of the North Cascades,” said Colleen McShane, manager of Natural Resources an Environmental Planning for City Light. The three-dam Skagit hydroelectric project is unique since it is situated with the Ross Lake National Recreation Area and is part of the North Cascades National Park Complex. The Skagit hydro project is the only such energy generating facility of its kind operating within a National Park.
There are still many things to see and do in this beautiful area, added McShane, “We encourage visitors to enjoy the programs and services offered by our neighbors including the North Cascades National Park, The North Cascades Institute, and the communities of Marblemount and Concrete, Washington.”
Seattle City Light’s Skagit General Store in Newhalem on the North Cascades Highway remains open as do the many trails and campgrounds in the area. Ferry service across Diablo Lake to Ross Lake Resort is scheduled to resume in early June, in time for the opening of fishing season. The National Park Service’s North Cascades Visitor Center near Newhalem is open daily June through September. Visit their website at www.nps.gov/noca. The North Cascades Environmental Learning Center operated by North Cascades Institute offers overnight programs for all ages. See www.ncascades.org
Seattle City Light is the ninth largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.