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Skagit Hydroelectric Project Operations Update

On Thursday, April 2, Governor Inslee extended the statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order until May 4. The order was first announced on March 23, and bans all gatherings, closes all non-essential businesses unless employees can work from home, and requires people across our state to stay home unless they are engaging in an essential activity. We know that these necessary preventative measures have changed the way we live, work, and play.

Boater Alert – Diablo Lake Elevation Change (Sep. 15-23, 2020)

To accommodate maintenance at Ross Dam, Seattle City Light must lower the elevation of Diablo Lake from Sep. 15-23, 2020. Due to heavy silt deposits present at this lowered level, the boat launch at Colonial Creek will be out of commission. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Seattle City Light is committed to managing the Skagit Hydroelectric Project in a responsible manner that ensures that dam facilities are staffed with essential personnel to enable safe and reliable operations. City Light’s Skagit team continually strives to find the balance between operational flexibility and measures that protect and mitigate for the environmental impacts of operations. These measures address recreation, aquatic, terrestrial, cultural, and wildlife resources and benefit the environment and the communities in and around the greater Skagit area.

The utility continues to follow the guidance from Governor Inslee’s Washington “Safe Start” plan, which provides additional direction on resuming recreation and other activities.

Update on Skagit Recreational Areas (July 13, 2020)

Visitor Services in Newhalem

  • What’s open?
    • The Skagit Information Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days per week through Sep. 30. Face coverings and social distancing are required.
    • The Trail of the Cedars is open.
    • Portable toilets are available for public use on Main Street and in the parking lots across from State Route 20.
    • The Ladder Creek Falls Trail and Garden are open.
  • What’s closed?
    • The Gorge Inn, Gorge Powerhouse Visitor Gallery and Skagit General Store are closed.

Visitor Services in Diablo/Diablo Lake

  • What’s open?
    • The road across Diablo Dam is currently open for accessing the Diablo Lake Trailhead and ferry dock.
    • The Diablo Lake Ferry is operating for Ross Lake Resort guests. Face coverings are required. Daily departures (one-way only) are from Ross to Diablo at 11 a.m. and Diablo to Ross at 2 p.m.
    • The Stetattle Creek and Sourdough Trailheads in Diablo are open.
  • What’s closed?
    • The Environmental Learning Center campus is closed.

Skagit Tours 2020 Season

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Skagit Tours have been cancelled for the 2020 season. Please visit the Skagit Information Center to pick up a complimentary self-guided walking tour of Newhalem. For updates and links to new “virtual” Skagit Tour videos, please visit

Update on North Cascades Highway (SR 20) Reopening at Newhalem

The North Cascades Highway (also known as State Route 20) reopened on May 12. This stretch runs from milepost 120 at Newhalem to milepost 177 at Early Winters Campground. For additional traffic information, please visit:

City of Seattle Continuity of Operations Plan and Ensuring Safe and Reliable Dam Operations

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Seattle operationalized its Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) for COVID-19 on March 13. This COOP ensures the continuation of critical services in the event of an emergency. Operations at the Skagit Hydroelectric Project are considered a critical service and the dams are staffed with essential personnel to ensure safe and reliable operations. The City of Seattle continues to revise and update the COOP to make sure that amidst this pandemic, we can continue to perform our critical functions that residents and businesses rely on.

City Light’s Commitment to Safe Employees and Reliable Service During the COVID-19 Crisis

Our service is an essential need and its reliability is a top priority. City Light is prioritizing essential critical infrastructure work in accordance with Governor Inslee’s order. We are committed to providing safe and reliable power and ensuring the health and safety of our employees and the communities in which we live. We regularly review and update internal guidelines to make sure employees are properly informed and trained. We distribute information about COVID-19, including general health and safety tips as well as resources for teleworking. Our Safety group ensures all work meets COVID-19 regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Washington State Department of Health (DOH), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Those who must work in a City Light facility are practicing safe social distancing and access to those locations is limited to essential employees. We are enhancing cleaning practices and distributing hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies to those who must report to our facilities. Crews will carry proof that the work they are doing qualifies as essential critical infrastructure work in accordance with Governor Inslee’s order.


For more information, please contact Julie Moore, Seattle City Light Communications Director, at

Information updated on July 13, 2020