Lake Sakakawea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lake Sakakawea
Lake sakakawea.jpg
from space, July 1996
Location North Dakota
Coordinates 47°29′53″N 101°24′46″W / 47.49806°N 101.41278°W / 47.49806; -101.41278Coordinates: 47°29′53″N 101°24′46″W / 47.49806°N 101.41278°W / 47.49806; -101.41278 at Garrison Dam
Lake type Reservoir
Primary inflows Missouri River and
Little Missouri River
Primary outflows Missouri River
Catchment area 317,400 km2 (122,500 sq mi)
Basin countries United States
Max. length 178 miles (286 km)
Surface area 307,000 acres (480 sq mi; 1,240 km2)
Max. depth 180 ft (55 m) at dam
Water volume 23,800,000 acre·ft (29.4 km3)[1]
Shore length1 1,320 mi (2,120 km)
Surface elevation 1,817 ft (554 m)[1]
References [1]
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.
Lake Sakakawea is located in USA
Lake Sakakawea
Lake Sakakawea
Location in the United States

Lake Sakakawea is a reservoir in the north central United States, located in the Missouri River basin in central North Dakota. Named for the Shoshone-Hidatsa woman Sakakawea, it is the largest man-made lake in North Dakota and the third largest in the United States, after Lake Mead and Lake Powell. The lake lies in parts of six counties in western North Dakota: Dunn, McKenzie, McLean, Mercer, Mountrail, and Williams. A map centered on the Van Hook Arm 47°53′00″N 102°21′14″W / 47.88333°N 102.35389°W / 47.88333; -102.35389 of the lake perhaps better shows its westward extent from its origin at the Garrison Dam.

It is located about 80 km (50 mi) from Bismarck; the distance by the river is about 120 km (75 mi). The lake averages between 2 and 3 miles (3 and 5 km) in width and is 14 miles (23 km) wide at its widest point (Van Hook Arm). Lake Sakakawea marks the maximum southwest extent of glaciation during the ice age.

The reservoir was created with the completion of Garrison Dam in 1956, the second (and largest) of six main-stem dams on the Missouri River built and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, hydroelectric power, navigation, and irrigation.

The creation of the lake displaced members of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation from the villages of Van Hook and (Old) Sanish, forcing the creation of New Town, White Shield, and Mandaree. One name that had been proposed for New Town was Vanish (a portmanteau of the two previous towns' names). Elbowoods, a third reservation town where the agency headquarters, boarding school, hospital, and jail were located, was also lost to the lake. These three towns are commemorated in the names of the three campground sections at Lake Sakakawea State Park, a state park located adjacent to Garrison Dam.

Lake Sakakawea is home to many summer camps, including Triangle Y Camp and Camp of the Cross.

During a training flight in winter 1969, a U.S. Air Force F-106A Delta Dart (59-0014)[2] from Minot AFB, about sixty (100 km) miles north of the dam, crashed into the western portion of the lake on March 10.[3] The pilot ejected safely to land and the plane sank below the frozen lake surface. It was not located until more than 35 years later, in September 2004, after an extended search by a local surveyors' group.[4]


  • Maximum water storage: 23,800,000 acre feet (29.4 km3)
  • Maximum water depth: 180 feet (55 m) at the face of the dam
  • Normal surface area:[5] 307,000 acres (480 sq mi; 1,240 km2)
  • Normal length:[5] 178 miles (286 km)
  • Normal shoreline:[5] 1,320 mi (2,120 km)



  1. ^ a b c United States Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District. [1] Accessed 16 July 2007.
  2. ^ "1959 USAF serial numbers". Joseph F. Baugher. Retrieved May 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ "59-0014". Aviation Safety. ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 138178. March 10, 1969. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Parts of fighter plane found in lake nearly 35 years after crash". USA Today. Associated Press. October 1, 2004. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Based on elevation 1,837.5 feet (560.1 m) MSL.
  6. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

External links[edit]