Thursday, December 16, 2010

Revisioning the lower Snake River

Graduate students with Washington State University (WSU) and University of Idaho unveiled their “Future Directions for the Snake River, Dams and Regional Transportation,” visions of a lower Snake River landscape without dams at the Sage Bakery in Lewiston, ID last week. 

Professor Jolie Kaytes’ Landscape Design class spent the semester meeting with stakeholders, touring and lower Snake River and consulting with experts to develop designs on how the lower Snake River could look in the future with agriculture, modern transportation and local communities thriving along a restored river.

The students this fall were the second group to imagine a future Snake River.  Last year’s class explored ideas for the Snake River waterfront in Clarkston/Lewiston.  Designs focused on reconnecting the historic downtown with the river, utilizing reclaimed riverfront lands for public markets, recreation, tourism and commerce. 

This year's designs were unveiled at an evening reception at Sage Bakery.  The students’ work will remain on the walls through the end of January 2011, in conjunction with a gallery of historic photos of the lower Snake River, showing what the river looked like before dams and could look like again.  

This year’s designs focused on the stretch of river from Pasco, WA to Central Ferry upstream from Little Goose dam.  Modern rail depots facilitating transport of crops and people, free-flowing river recreation, restored Native-American lands, and abundant salmon were featured.  Some designs focused on the values at stake and needs of farmers, local communities, and salmon-dependent communities, while another design suggested how the region can seize an opportunity for stakeholder dialogue to create a future that includes a restored river while meeting the needs of farmers, fishermen and local towns.

"The students’ projects address and reveal the complex relationships among organisms, locale, the built environment, ideologies, and time,” said Jolie Kaytes, the course instructor and associate professor of landscape architecture at WSU. “They employ design strategies that require us to broadly reflect on values, energy, edge, transport, recreation, farming, community, power, sustenance, soil, settlement, and salmon.

“Ultimately, the students’ projects challenge us to reexamine how we see and understand the region, to continually review, in the multiple senses of that word, the Snake River Basin and what it means
to be a citizen of this landscape,” she said.

Stop by and check out the students’ work.  Sage Bakery is located at 1303 Main Street in Lewiston.  Stay tuned for showings of the designs in Spokane, Seattle and other locations in 2011.   Designs from the previous class are available for viewing here at Working Snake River's website.

For more information go to:
And stay tuned for closer looks at these landscape designs soon...

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