We didn’t have a plan to visit the Revelstoke dam, but our last day was full of inclement weather – a crazy, windy, unpredictable rainstorm. We thought taking cover inside somewhere would be a good idea.
On our way, we gained a great understanding of the respect Revelstoke has for bears. There are at least four that greet you as you enter town.
On our way to the dam, we saw a field where three different bears, separated from each other by a bit of distance, were sitting together, grazing.
I took as many photos as I had the nerve to – it was only a few minutes before they were paying attention to us – and they weren’t nearly far enough away for me. It would have been an easy run and maul for any one of them.
Thankfully they don’t really like eating humans. But it does happen – and skull busting ‘plays’ happen too. Bears are most aggressive when they wake from hibernation – which was about the time we arrived.
One seemed smaller and was black, another was huge, brown and had what looked like a grizzly lump on his back, and the third was sized somewhere in the middle of the other two, hump-less and brown.
I have never seen or heard of such a thing! That means there are too many bears here – even to see them hanging out in a field together (obviously not family related), seemed very unusual.
Revelstokebearaware.org says there are two kinds of bears in the region. So that means, in actuality, we either saw two grizzlies and a black bear, or we were lucky enough to see a rare ‘cinnamon’ black bear.
According to revelstokebearaware.org, cinnamon bears make up about %10 of the black bear population.
You can see more (terrible quality) photos of our bear ‘friends’ at the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.
The dam is quite impressive, even from a distance.
I learned that each of the enormous ‘tubes’ (pictured below) has a power generator below it.
The water flows through the tubes, there are a few (not too complicated) stages it goes though, and then it comes out the other side as power, leaving the water to run through to the river below.
This is the reason our power is one of the cheapest in Canada.
And though an impact on the immediate natural and human environment can’t be denied (there have been many drowned towns as a result of damming), this source of energy is much less damaging in the short, and long term, than the nuclear power that polluted the areas where I grew up.
A beautiful, historic town that is on the verge of catastrophe. It reeks like nuclear waste, and the entire downtown, and surrounding subdivisions, are polluted beyond what is considered livable (a story for later!).
This will never happen using hydro power. Sure there are a few other things that ‘could’ happen. The dam could crack and flood (highly unlikely), but otherwise, the risks are very low.
And once everything has settled back down after construction, the environmental impact balances out as well.
We know what happens with nuclear power. It creates un-disposable nuclear waste. Sick land, and sick people.
I have often thought that there must be a better way, though I understand the incredible energy needs of Ontario, and the lack of fast flowing water to use for hydro power.
The water that drains out the other side of the dam into the river, looks clean enough to drink. Turquoise and full of marine life.
There are a number dams in the region, far more than I would have thought. On the map inside, it looked like there were a hundred functioning power dams – but I didn’t actually count.
The Revelstoke Dam – an incredible piece of architectural mastery. Can you believe it did once crack and flood in the early stages of construction? Major disaster was narrowly averted.
You can read a great story about the harrowing experience, when you stop in for a visit.
Additional photos in the slideshow.
- Revelstoke Dam (wikipedia)
- Port Hope: A Toxic Time Bomb (the star.com)
- Identify A Bear (revelstokebearaware.org)