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Kerr Dam, Polson

(4.3/5 based on 75+ reviews on the web)
The Kerr Dam, officially known as the Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’, is a concrete gravity-arch dam located at river mile 72 of the Flathead River, increasing the size of Flathead Lake near Polson, Montana. The dam was designed for hydroelectricity but also serves recreational uses. The dam was originally named after Frank Kerr, president of the Montana Power Company at the time of the dam's completion in 1938; however, during the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe's celebration of their acquisition of the dam on September 5, 2015, the Tribal Council announced that the dam's name would henceforth be changed to reflect its new ownership.ConstructionIn 1930, construction began on the dam by Rocky Mountain Power. A year later in 1931, a lack of funding from the Great Depression caused construction to halt. Montana State Treasurer James Brett went to Atlanta in 1934 to ask President Franklin Roosevelt for $5,000,000 to complete the dam. Knowing that the area was in desperate need of jobs, Roosevelt gave Brett the money and he came home to a hero's welcome. In 1936, the Montana Power Company restarted the project and completed it in 1938. The dam only raised Flathead Lake by 10 feet so it is not completely responsible for the reservoir. The dam's hydro power plant consists of three units that receive water from three different penstocks 1700 feet upstream.
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  • While this is off the beaten path it is well worth the time and effort to get there. You may feel like you are getting lost, you're not. It is about a half mile walk from the gate to the observation p...  more »
  • Short drive from Polson, FREE !! something the whole family can enjoy even if some don't choose to take the stairs down to the viewing gazebo. You can see the spectacular views from both areas !!!  more »
  • Great view of Flathead lake and the dam. It is a bit of a drive from Polson and a fairly steep climb down well maintained stairs, but worth the effort.  more »