May 9, 2012 | LXXII, No. 6

Cross the dam — while you can

It’s no longer permitted … most of the time.

But this Saturday, residents, tourists and their families can walk across Grand Coulee Dam.

Once upon a time, back before 9/11 brought stricter security measures at the dam, people could walk across Grand Coulee Dam just about any day they wanted. They could gaze over the 300-foot spillway, feel the spray in the wind if water was flowing over the top, or just marvel at the mighty river and the edifice that tames it.

Now that opportunity is relatively rare.

But on Saturday, runners and walkers can take advantage of two events to take them across the top of the dam: The Over the Dam Run, and the Walk the Dam, Build a School walk sponsored by the Rotary Club as a fund raiser for new-school funds.

The Over the Dam Run, organized by Trifreaks, the triathlon company, offers three races — a 5K, a 10K, and a half marathon. Each will start at the east side of Grand Coulee Dam, and each will cross the dam on the way to a finish line at North Dam Park in Grand Coulee.

The finish line is also a good starting point for runners. Trifreaks is encouraging runners to park at North Dam Park and take advantage of a shuttle bus they will run to the start line from 5:30-7:30 a.m.

The Rotary Walk the Dam, Build a School event will let walkers do just that. This year, it’s a straight walk across with no laps back and forth. You finish when you get to the other side.

There will be a bus at the west end of the dam to take those who don’t want to, or can’t, make the full 3-mile circuit back to the start.

Walkers get a shirt, but most of their fees will go to the building fund to finish the new-school project, most of which was funded by the state Legislature last month.

Registration booths for both events will be set up Friday evening at North Dam Park.

The Rotary club will also set up a booth at Freedom Point Plaza in Coulee Dam early Saturday morning. A bus will be available to take walkers to the start of the walk about a half mile away.

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