Sunbeam Dam was built on the Salmon River near the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River in 1910 and effectively wiped out the native run of sockeye salmon to and from the Pacific Ocean. After providing power for one year the powerhouse was shut down, but the dam sat idle and continued to kill salmon until it was removed in 1934.
In 1934 the dam was partially blown up. There are various reports with broad discrepancies outlining the details of how the dam eventually met its demise. One report, from the then-former governor of Idaho, Cecil Andrus, states “a party or parties unknown ran a dynamite-laden raft into Sunbeam Dam.” Another report reads, “In 1910, miners built Sunbeam Dam on the Salmon River east of Stanley, cutting off the sockeye’s migration route. They were thought to have gone extinct in the 1920s. But the fish reappeared in 1931 after sportsmen blew a hole in Sunbeam Dam.”
Regardless of how the dam was blown up there are two things we know are true: Sockeye Salmon have one less obstacle to contend with on their trek to Redfish Lake and whitewater rafters on this stretch of river sure have a unique rapid to navigate. Licensing and Open Edition Prints.