Lake Koocanusa

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Lake Koocanusa
Lake Koocanusa.jpg
Location Montana / British Columbia
Coordinates 48°23′N 115°19′W / 48.383°N 115.317°W / 48.383; -115.317Coordinates: 48°23′N 115°19′W / 48.383°N 115.317°W / 48.383; -115.317
Lake type reservoir
Primary inflows Kootenay River
Primary outflows Kootenai River
Basin countries United States, Canada

Lake Koocanusa is a reservoir in British Columbia (Canada) and Montana (United States) formed by the damming of the Kootenay River by the Libby Dam in 1975.

The lake is formed north of the dam, reaching 48 miles (77 km) to the Canadian border and 42 miles (68 km) further into British Columbia. The lake holds 13% of the water in the Columbia River system. The town of Rexford was moved, as well as the Great Northern Railroad line. The town of Waldo, BC is now covered by the lake. What was once a barrier to river travel, Jennings Canyon is now inundated by the lake.[1]

Lake Koocanusa was named in a contest won by Alice Beers of Rexford, Montana. The name is made from the first three letters of the Kootenay (alternately, Kootenai) River, Canada, and USA.

Lake Koocanusa was built as a joint project of the U.S. and Canada. It is 26 km (16 mi) from Libby, Montana, also on the Kootenai River, from which the dam gets its name. The Libby Dam has a Visitors Center and can be accessed by the Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway which begins in the nearby town of Libby, Montana.

The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail follows Highway 37 along the east side of the lake before crossing over the Lake Koocanusa Bridge and climbing up Webb Mountain.

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