Miles Lost Miles Gained

Art and science combine to virtually restore lost rivers through digital maps, sculpture and intersecting tales of ecosystem destruction and restoration.

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  • Peterson Brothers panorama, 1878, showing historic Seattle before regrades and fill of Duwamish tidelands.

  • Digital representation of modern Seattle, from Peterson Brothers vantage, overlaid with historic Elliot Bay shoreline and mouth of Duwamish River. (MLMG, Google)

  • Elwha Dam construction 1910-1911 (NPS)

  • Elwha Dam before removal, July 2011

  • Elwha dam nearly removed, February 2012

  • Early attempt to shift the Cedar River out of the Black River in Renton. (UW)

  • Renton Airport, former location of Black River and Cedar river confluence (MLMG)

  • Duwamish River dredge at work constructing the Duwamish waterway. (City of Seattle)

  • Duwamish River/Elliot Bay now vs. then (MLMG/Google)

The Miles Lost/Miles Gained project is funded in part by a Preservation Special Projects grant and King County Lodging Tax, with technical assistance from the U.W. Puget Sound River History Project and the Burke Museum Waterlines Project.

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Puget Sound River History Project

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ML/MG News & Events

Glines Is Gone (Almost)!

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under Elwha River
After a lengthy delay, Barnard Construction resumed blasting out the last 50 ft chunk of Glines Canyon dam. See the attached photo-mosaic showing progress to date. Its humbling and inspiring to see a difficult and controversial public works project come to fruition despite the utter insanity that has taken root amidst our less endowed politicians and otherwise paralyzed our ability to move the Nation forward. It’s also impressive to see how carefully the last bit of dam was blasted back into the reservoir instead of into the river (a condition of the National Park Service).
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Go! Check out Seattle’s beloved purveyor of poetically correct public art, Buster Simpson, at the Frye Art Museum

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under Art

This is a terrific retrospective. I think Buster is on one of Seattle’s true gems. He is as prolific and ingenious an artist as any I know. His use of art and humor to reveal hidden relationships between people and the land and water and plants and animals and buildings is both inspiring and humbling. Just look at him peering down into this catch basin he...

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The Project: Miles Lost/Miles Gained

Webmap-BR-grab.jpgMiles Lost / Miles Gained (MLMG) is a public art and historic interpretation project by Seattle based engineer and artist Zachary Corum.  Celebrating the restoration of the Elwha River, “a river lost for a century,” this project investigates other lost rivers of Puget Sound. Through placement of a series of sculptural river mile markers along the paths of the “missing rivers”, the goal is to allow viewers to gather insights into the scale and pace of the transformations that have taken place and the importance of maintaining and restoring natural systems. While the meanders of the lost rivers are unlikely to reappear through the sea of asphalt that replaced them, their former majesty can be virtually restored through art and historic interpretation. MORE...

The Structures: Mile Markers

new-milemarker-640.jpgThe mile markers will consist of concrete monoliths placed to resemble the mile marker symbol commonly found on the modern United States Geological Survey 7.5 minute quadrangle maps to demarcate the distance along a river channel from its mouth. The monuments will consist of concrete rubble generated from removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams to restore the pristine Elwha River, which flows out of the rainforests of Olympic National Park to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Where possible, large, visually arresting pieces will be cut down to create the monoliths. In other cases, welded wire baskets will be used to form the monoliths from smaller pieces of dam rubble. All monuments will be capped with an etched metal plate that tells the intertwined tales of the virtually restored river (miles lost) and the permanently restored Elwha river (miles gained). At the center of each mile marker, a brass survey monument will be mounted in concrete, at the estimated location of the historic river mile. The monument will be installed to meet the specifications of a permanent survey control point, surveyed professionally, and a record of the survey will be filed with the State of Washington. In addition, a request will be filed to classify the monument as a historic landmark. MORE...

The Miles Lost/Miles Gained project is funded in part by a Preservation Special Projects grant and King County Lodging Tax, with technical assistance from the U.W. Puget Sound River History Project and the Burke Museum Waterlines Project.

4CultureWaterlines

Puget Sound River History Project

Get Involved

Send us your name and email and we can keep you up to date with the progress of Miles Lost/Miles Gained and let you know how you can help.

Type the letters & numbers you see below.
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