A rare summer day in springtime provided an early opportunity to snap an area of NW Montana considered one of the gateways to Glacier National Park, Hungry Horse dam.
This 564-foot-high chunk of concrete is located on the South Fork of the Flathead River. A popular recreation area, the dam was constructed at variable-thicknesses. With an arch structure that has a crest length of 2,115 ft, both the dam and appurtenant works contain 3,086,200 cubic yards of concrete.
Water cascading over the spillway rim drops a maximum distance of 490 feet.
Buttressed on either side by layers of geological history, the dam was originally constructed between 1948-1953. It was the third largest and second highest concrete dam in the world when it was first completed.
Located 9 miles SE of Columbia Falls, according to the US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), the dam serves two purposes, hydroelectric power generation and flood control. Further down the South Fork of the Flathead River, the spillway output continues to add to the river's rage.
"Downstream power benefits are of major importance," explains the USBR, "since more than five times as much power can be produced from water releases downstream than is produced at Hungry Horse Powerplant."
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