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Buffalo Bill Reservoir  / Dam | by Tim Lumley
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Buffalo Bill Reservoir / Dam

The Shoshone River is a 100-mile long river with headwaters in the Absaroka Mountain Range along the eastern side of Yellowstone National Park. A few miles west of Cody, Wyoming the river carved a 3,000 ft. deep gorge between the Rattlesnake Mountains (image left) and Cedar Mountain (image right). Between 1905 and 1910, a 200 ft. wide by 325 ft. high dam was built across the gulch impounding a large reservoir for irrigation, flood control and power generation. Originally dubbed the Shoshone Dam, it was renamed Buffalo Bill Dam in 1946 to honor William “Buffalo Bill” Cody the chief promoter of the project.


At the time of its completion it was the tallest dam in the world and considered quite an engineering feat in its day. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and named a National Civil Engineering Landmark in 1973. In 1985 the crest of the dam was raised 25 feet in a renovation project that also enlarged the spillways, added 25 MW of electrical generating capacity, and built a new visitor center on the dam's crest.


The reservoir currently provides irrigation for approximately 107,000 acres in the Bighorn Basin, flood control for the Shoshone River and 30 megawatts of hydroelectric power.


Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming, USA. Elevation: 5,464 ft. September 21, 2015.

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Taken on September 21, 2015