|Saturday we decided to travel US Highway 12 about 25 miles west to the town of Orofino at the suggestion of our campground host. He thought we might enjoy a tour of Dworshak Dam on the North Fork Clearwater River. The dam is located approximately 4 miles northeast of Orofino and impounds the Dworshak Reservoir for flood control and hydroelectricity generation. Dworshak is the third tallest dam in the United States and the tallest straight-axis concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere. Construction of the dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began in 1966 and was completed in 1973.
The dam is a concrete gravity dam with a sloped downstream face and vertical upstream face, standing 717 feet high from the foundations, 632 feet above the riverbed and measuring 3,287 feet long along its crest. The top of the dam is 44 feet wide at an elevation of 1,613 feet above sea level. The main body of the structure contains approximately 6,500,000 cubic yards of concrete. High water releases are controlled by a set of outlet works with four gates, capable of releasing 40,000 cubic feet per second and a spillway controlled by two 50.0 ft × 56.4 ft tainter gates. The spillway has a capacity of 150,000 cu ft/S at maximum reservoir elevation. Dworshak Reservoir is the name of the lake formed behind the dam. At normal maximum water levels of 1,600 feet above sea level, the reservoir stretches 53 miles upstream, covering 17,090 acres with 175 miles of shoreline. It is an impressive sight & the lake is quite lovely.
Now that I've given you all of the fascination statistics on the dam & the reservoir I have to admit that when we arrived the road to the Visitor Center was blocked off! What, are you kidding me??? There was a large sign posted stating that Visitor Center hours were Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM-4:30 PM. Hmpphhhh...There was an additional sign, 'NO TRESPASSING'...
So, we did the honorable thing & crawled through the fence. After all, we drove all this way to visit the 3 level Visitor Center and we'd been told it had excellent presentations. Actually, we were looking for someone to give us permission to at least view the dam a bit closer & take a few pics. Success, we found Volunteer Village & all 4 of the volunteers standing outside of their rigs visiting. After a nice chat we had permission to proceed about 1/2 mile on down the road for a closer view. It was a beautiful day & we enjoyed the walk & the view when we arrived. After 30 minutes or so we drove on down the road to the Eddy Recreation area for a closer look at the lake & marina before finally heading back home. It was a pretty drive along the river and we'll actually be driving along it again tomorrow as we head further west. So, we'll see you on down the road :)