A series of bathtubs dot Wyoming’s North Platte River, filling and releasing water for summer irrigation, power generation, and recreation. During western expansion, it became necessary to control the river, building dams and reservoirs that helped to regulate flow between seasons and wet and dry years.
Slabs of masonry and mortar span across places like Fremont Canyon, capable of holding back more than one million acre-feet of water. Pathfinder Dam, completed in 1909, is iconic of the era of dam-building, making agriculture and life possible in the arid West.
High up in the river’s drainage, a much different kind of dam impounds the Platte’s waters.