The big lake they call Fort Peck
From the Yellowstone confluence to the Musselshell confluence Lewis & Clark saw a river the likes of which will never be seen by man again.
130 miles upstream from the Yellowstone, resides one of the worlds largest earth filled dam. Built as a part of the New Deal, at the height of construction over 10,500 workers labored along the banks of the Missouri. The original Fort Peck was abandoned in the 1880’s, and eventually was covered with water by Fort Peck Reservoir. Construction took 6 years, completion occuring in 1940. Rising 242 feet above the riverbed, and over 9,000 feet across, it backs nearly 20 million acre-feet of water, it is the largest scar man has ever inflicted on the state of Montana. The town of Fort Peck, located on the north side of the dam, is an interesting little community. The old stuctures built by the Army Corp. of Engineers, have been left behind intact. Its like wandering through a depression era ghost town.
Current controversies surrounding the dam, are the conflicting uses intended for the water. Barge traffic on the lower Missouri and Mississippi depend on the waters held in the reservoir. However, when too much water is released, the impact on recreation and irrigation in Montana are affected.
Fort Peck Reservoir will be the most formidable foe on the Rojomo expedition. With food & supplies virtually nonexistant, crossings on open water exceeding distances of 10 miles or more and waves can be wind driven to heights of more than 15 feet.