Idaho History Dec 8, 2019

Deadwood Dam

Valley County, Idaho

(Part 2 – Dam)

Deadwood Dam

from Boise Project History 1920-1945

The next physical change in the project came between 1929 and 1931, with the construction of the Deadwood Dam. The Deadwood Reservoir was intended as a storage facility for the Black Canyon Canals (even though they were not yet built), and it was built on Deadwood River, about twenty-five miles southeast of Cascade. It has an active capacity of 161,900 acre-feet, slightly smaller than that of Lake Lowell — and it had no immediate practical effect on the project.

source: pg 193 Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series Number 193
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Deadwood Dam History

This concrete-arch dam, a Bureau of Reclamation project, was completed in 1931 with a storage capacity of 164,000 acre feet covering 3,055 surface acres. It is located on Deadwood River, a tributary of the South Fork of the Payette River, about twenty-five miles by direct line southeasterly from Cascade. The site is twenty-five miles above the confluence of Deadwood River and the South Fork of the Payette River and ninety stream miles above Black Canyon Dam. The purpose of this dam is to supplement late-season flows in the Payette River for use at Black Canyon powerplant, for irrigation in Emmett, Payette, and Montour valleys, and for flood control. With a maximum height above bedrock of 170 feet and a crest length of 710 feet, the reservoir extends 3 1/2 miles upstream.

Deadwood Dam, at 5,340 feet elevation, is in a very remote area of the Boise National Forest and presented unusual problems in construction and transportation. The construction firms were Utah Construction Company and Morrison-Knudsen. The basin was thickly timbered with lodgepole pine that had to be cleared for the future reservoir area. Holmbert and Norman held the clearing contract. A mechanical saw was tried but proved unsatisfactory, and the trees were felled by hand. The damsite is located sixty-five miles by road from Cascade, the nearest railroad point. The long stretch of mountain road, crossing three summits and usually closed by snow for seven months of the year, made delivery of materials and supplies a major problem. One thousand tons of freight were delivered to the damsite during the fall of 1929, costing from $9.50 to $19 per ton for hauling. That year, snow closed the road to Cascade on December 8. The caterpillar and snowplow were driven across the summits two or three times, but the road closed completely December 18. Men were shipped out by team and on foot, the last forty walking thirty miles through snow to a point where they were met by a Morrison-Knudsen four-horse team with sleds. Among those walking out were R. J. Newell, Boise Project superintendent, and Frank Crow, superintendent of construction. Six men remained on the job, taking care of the layout and cutting timber.

An intermittent communication service between Boise and Deadwood was maintained by means of a plane that delivered men and supplies to a small runway that was kept shoveled off at the Deadwood site. Round trips from Boise were made in about two hours. In the spring of 1930, when it was time to return to the job, weather prevented flights from Boise, so personnel were taken in from Cascade. On April 29, the shuttle began. The plane was an open-cockpit Eagle Rock plane that could carry the pilot and two passengers. The first flight took in Superintendent Newell and his big dog. (The dog did not appreciate the ride in the open plane.) After another trip to bring in Newell’s wife and daughter, the plane continued its shuttle for several days, bringing in Swedish loggers to clear the trees. Some workers went in by dogsled.

Concrete pouring began June 3, 1930, and was completed November 7, 1930. Concrete was carried across the canyon to the west wing by cableway and then transported to place in cars on a pole trestle built directly over the line of the wing. On June 21, the head tower of the cableway collapsed, dropping the main cable, bucket, hopper, chute, and concrete. No one was hurt. During the three or four weeks it took to make repairs, concrete was dumped directly into the mixer through a metal-lined chute into bottom-dump cars operated on a trestle and dumped into place through wooden chutes. Expertise gained here was put to good use when these same two companies later built Boulder Dam.

The reservoir was filled in 1931. Waters in the reservoir covered some mining claims, the old Beaver Creek Ranger Station, cattle association buildings and fences, and the old mining town of Bummer. The Bureau of Reclamation settled the mining claims, replaced the Forest Service improvements, and built a telephone line along the flow line road from the permanent camp at the dam to an intersection of the line at the head of the reservoir. The Bureau of Reclamation gave the Garden Valley Cattle Association a cabin used during construction to replace their inundated buildings.

Deadwood Reservoir provides high-quality recreation, but use is held down by its remoteness.

excerpted from: History of the Boise National Forest 1905-1976 By Elizabeth M. Smith
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Hauling Cement for Deadwood Dam

(c. 1929-1931)
Knowles Bros, Coleman Truck Fleet Cascade Idaho

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Ron Smith, local historian & major contributor to “Pans, Picks and Shovels” by the Valley Co. History Project writes –

“The pictures of the Knowles Bros. Coleman Trucks are taking sacked cement from Cascade, for the construction of the Deadwood Dam in the 1920’s.”

[h/t SMc]
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Deadwood Dam

Deadwood Dam is located in west-central Idaho on the Deadwood River about 25 miles above its confluence with the South Fork of the Payette River and about 90 miles above Black Canyon Diversion Dam. The damsite is located in a narrow canyon where the Deadwood River has cut into granite bedrock, approximately 53 miles northeast of Boise, Idaho. The dam lies on the western slope of the Sawtooth Mountains with elevations in the basin varying from 5311 feet by the dam to about 8,696 feet at Price Peak. Deadwood Reservoir is three and one half miles long and covers 3,180 acres. Deadwood Dam is a concrete-arch structure with a structural height of 165 feet and a total capacity of 154,000 acre-feet, providing a regulated flow for the powerplant at Black Canyon Diversion Dam and for irrigation in the Payette Division and Emmett Irrigation District.


Foundation: Hard, sound granite, massive at left abutment and fissured with sheet and block joints at right abutment. Two tightly filled fault-zone seams cross foundation on right side.

source: US Bureau of Reclamation
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Deadwood River

Mine Ruins in Upper Deadwood River Drainage

The area lies in Valley and Boise Counties, and is part of the Lowman Ranger District. The management area is an estimated 157,200 acres, with 246 acres of private inholdings.

The main access to the area is by either the Landmark-Stanley Road (Forest Road 579) or the Deadwood-Scott Mountain Road (Forest Road 555).

Prominent landmarks in this area include Peace Rock, and Scott Mountain, Rice Peak, and Whitehawk Mountain Lookouts. Deadwood Reservoir is a popular recreation area for camping and fishing.

Cultural themes in this area include Prehistoric Archeology, Mining, Ethnic History, Ranching, Forest Service History, CCC, Reclamation, and Recreation. Stone tools recovered along Deadwood River indicate that prehistoric Indians camped in the area as long as ten thousand years ago. In 1867, a short-lived gold rush developed in Deadwood Basin.

Miners built Deadwood City, now inundated by the reservoir, and the Chinese ran large placer operations in tributary drainages. Mining revived in the 1920s with the establishment of the Hall-Interstate Mill and the nearby Pilgrim Mountain mines. These lode mines operated through the late 1940s, and produced over a million dollars in lead and zinc.

The livestock industry was also an important, historic use of the area. In 1911, the FS used Deadwood Basin to conduct one of its first grazing studies in Idaho.

The Forest Service and Bureau of Reclamation built Deadwood Guard Station in the 1930s, and CCC troops built the Scott Mountain Road (FR 555), and Deadwood and Whitehawk Mountain Lookouts.

Deadwood Dam, built in 1931, increased the area’s attractiveness to recreationists. The Bureau of Reclamation manages the dam.

excerpted from: Chapter III Deadwood River Management Area 13 USFS
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Deadwood Reservoir

Deadwood Reservoir is a reservoir in the western United States, in Valley County, Idaho. Located in the mountains of the Boise National Forest about 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Cascade, the 3,000-acre (12 km2) body on the Deadwood River is created by Deadwood Dam. The river flow south from the dam and is a tributary of the South Fork of the Payette River. The reservoir and vicinity is commonly used for camping, water skiing, fishing, canoeing, and other outdoor recreation. The full pool surface elevation is just above a mile-high at 5,334 ft (1,626 m) above sea level.

Approved by President Coolidge in 1928, the isolated site required substantial road building. Construction of the concrete arch dam itself began in late 1929 and was completed in March 1931.

continued: Wikipedia

Construction of the Deadwood Dam in 1930

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Deadwood Dam in summer 2010

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Bureau of Reclamation
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Deadwood Reservoir

Species Present: Rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, landlocked fall chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon, bull trout and cutthroat trout.

Seasons: Late June to October. Fishing rules and regulations in the Boise National Forest are established by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. See current fishing regulations, call (208)334-3700, or write Idaho Department of Fish and Game, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.

Access: Deadwood Reservoir is on the Deadwood River in the South Fork Payette watershed. It’s at 5,300′ elevation. The Deadwood Reservoir is commonly accessed by Forest Roads 555, 582, and 579. The roads into the reservoir normally do not open until mid to late June. Please check with the Lowman Ranger District for current road conditions.

Camping: There are four campgrounds, Barneys (6 units), Cozy Cove (11 units), Howers (6 units) and Riverside (9 units), and a boat ramp at Cozy Cove.

Deadwood Reservoir map

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Bull Trout Poster

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Comments: Please note that threatened bull trout inhabit these waters and must be released unharmed immediately if caught.

Please read the Bull Trout Alert.

The Boise Forest Fisheries Program Manager would appreciate information about large bull trout that are captured in the reservoir.

Trolling from a boat is a popular method of fishing. With plenty of other fish to eat the weight of chinook and Atlantic salmon in the reservoir can reach double digits so anglers will need to match their gear accordingly.

More Information: Lowman Ranger District, (208) 259-336. Idaho Department of Fish and Game Idaho Fish and Game Southwest Region, 3101 S. Powerline Rd, Nampa ID 83686 (208)465-8465.

source: Boise National Forest
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CL-415s Scooping from Reservoir 21Aug16

airailimages Aug 22, 2016

A pair of adroitly piloted CL-415 amphibious air tankers scooped water from Idaho’s Deadwood Reservoir on 21 August 2016 for use against the Pioneer Fire not far away. The billowing bloom of smoke from the fire provided a backdrop for the aircraft as well as the local population of ospreys. At day’s end, in the valley far below the reservoir a Firehawk and Skycrane helicopter settled in for the night at Cascade, Idaho, with smoke from the fire coloring the sunset. Thanks to all the wildland fire professionals working this and other fires.

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Deadwood Lodge & Outfitters

Deadwood Lodge offers Idaho backcountry wilderness activities any time of the year! Since 1969, our family owned and operated outfitting service has been customizing Idaho vacations for individuals, families, and groups from 2 to 30! Our remote wilderness setting is a favorite location for family reunions, family vacations, corporate retreats and getaways, women’s retreats, individual vacations and even for groups of friends. Our guests arrive looking for everything from a peaceful, relaxing setting, to adventure trips; to a combination of both and at Deadwood Outfiitters Lodge we have it all!

By popular request, we also host several clinics and special events during the year, including our annual photography clinic, fly fishing clinic, and shooting skills classes. Sign up for our newsletter or contact us if you would like to be notified of upcoming clinics or special events. All of our special events and clinics offer time for learning and plenty of time for hands on experience. You won’t be disappointed!

Deadwood Lodge & Outfitters sits one mile from the boundary of Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area, the most scenic & pristine area left in the country. Our facility consists of a rustic lodge, three 2-story guest cabins, wood-fired hot tub, barn, corrals and bunkhouse. Comfortable, yet maintains the atmosphere of the backcountry. The perfect setting to “experience” Idaho’s wilderness and all its’ splendor just as the cowboys did before cars, television, and cell phones were invented!

more info: Deadwood Outfitters

Link to: Deadwood – Part 1 Mining