It was built before there was a Forest Service and before modern federal dam safety standards. But the Canyon Lake Dam has been in place west of Hamilton in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness since 1891. And it needs repairs every so often. The Canyon Creek Irrigation District has asked the Bitterroot National Forest for permission to helicopter materials into and out of the site for the next repair job. An Environmental Assessment has been released and public comment is being accepted until January 7, 2019.

Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest said the situation is not an emergency, but work does need to be done on the dam and the trail is not safe for pack animals. A helicopter would haul materials into the site at the beginning of the four-to-six week project and then haul materials back out at the end. It could happen as early as September, 2019. The documents are available online.

Canyon Peak. (Mike Daniels, Townsquare Media)