Hood River, Ore., isn’t just one of the Pacific Northwest’s most revered hotbeds of whitewater, it’s also at the center of the second largest dam removal project in the U.S. The owners of the Condit Dam on the White Salmon River announced October plans to begin demolishing the 125-foot structure which has been blocking salmon spawning grounds and flooding out epic whitewater for 98 years. After spending more than a year chronicling at-risk rivers from Canada to Thailand, Five2Nine Productions’ Mike McKay teamed up with C&K and turned his lens on Hood River. In this exclusive Currents episode, McKay showcases the White Salmon, Little White and other Class V creeks along with the committed local paddler that define them, plus the inspiring efforts of the Columbia Riverkeeper, American Whitewater, American Rivers, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, and the Freshwater Trust, in freeing the White Salmon of its concrete shackles.

Rogan Brown paddles into Sacriledge rapid on the Little White. Photo Steve Arns / Liquidlore.com

Click here to see past Currents episodes and to read more about McKay, the making of this episode and the next one in the works. Click here to read C&K contributor Christian Knight’s ode to Hood River, trying to put his finger on what exactly makes the place so unique.