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A Photographic Journey up the Missouri River in North Dakota - Garrison Dam and Lake Sakakawea
Photographs of the Missouri River at Garrison Dam and Lake Sakakawea
These photos provide a visual journey up the Missouri River in North Dakota. The pictures are arranged in approximate upstream order and dates and locations are given when known. These photographs may give you a glimpse of the sites Lewis & Clark saw and also serve to illustrate the history and development of the Missouri River.
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West bank of Missouri River below tailrace at Garrison Dam
June 20, 2000
Aerial photograph of Garrison Dam
May 18, 1995
Garrison Dam front door
Garrison Dam and Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota, U.S.A. August 1989
Lake Sakakawea, with more than 1600 miles (2576 kilometers) of shoreline, is featured in this low-oblique photograph. The lake extends westward almost 200 miles (322 kilometers) to near Williston, North Dakota (not in photograph). A portion of the lake, including the Van Hook Arm, lies within the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The part of the Missouri River that forms Lake Sakakawea marks the approximate boundary of glaciers that covered North Dakota—to the east and north glacial deposits blanket the land, and to the west and south lie bedrock and the Bad Lands through which travels the Little Missouri River before entering Lake Sakakawea. Garrison Dam (right center) is one of the largest rolled-earth dams in the world. To its east appear Audubon Lake and the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge.
Sunset on Lake Sakakawea
Geese on Lake Sakakawea
Lake Sakakawea provides many recreational opportunities for North Dakota residents and tourists.
The area shown in the five pictures below is now under the waters of Lake Sakakawea. The bridge, Four Bears Bridge, was moved upstream and remains important to the people of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
Missouri River near Elbowoods, North Dakota, looking downstream from Four Bears Bridge
August 16, 1940
Credit Line: U.S. Geological Survey
Missouri River near Elbowoods, North Dakota, looking upstream from left bank
May 28, 1952
Four Bears Bridge over the Missouri River near Elbowoods, North Dakota
Missouri River near Elbowoods, North Dakota
April 10, 1942
Missouri River near Elbowoods, North Dakota, looking upstream from Four Bears Bridge
August 16, 1940
Ferry across the Missouri River from Independence, North Dakota (Independence was located between Shell Creek and the Little Missouri River prior to the completion of Garrison Dam. The town site is now under the waters of Lake Sakakawea.)
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fort Berthold Indian Agency
Van Hook Arm of Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota, U.S.A. Winter 1995-1996
The Van Hook Arm of Lake Sakakawea, within the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, is featured in this low-oblique photograph. The Missouri River waters impounded by Garrison Dam, completed in 1956, (not in photograph) formed Lake Sakakawea in western North Dakota. As part of the Missouri River Basin project, Lake Sakakawea and Garrison Dam provide hydroelectric power, flood control, and irrigation for agriculture. The lake has approximately 1600 miles (2576 kilometers) of shoreline for boating, camping, and other recreational activities. Sediment is visible in the lake, and scattered agricultural field patterns extend outward from its shores.
Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota, U.S.A. April 1994
Featured in this low-oblique photograph is light blue, partially ice-covered Lake Sakakawea, the largest lake in North Dakota. Extending from Garrison Dam (not visible) to near Williston (not visible), Lake Sakakawea is approximately 200 miles (322 kilometers) long, has approximately 1600 miles (2576 kilometers) of shoreline, and provides recreation and irrigation for agriculture. Van Hook Arm is located within the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. During the ice age, the Missouri River was the boundary between glaciation to the north and east and ice-free topography to the south and west. Visible are the Little Missouri River within the Bad Lands and the southwest portion of the Turtle Mountains.