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Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake

#439 of 2,027 in Parks in California
Must see · Dam · Nature / Park
Shasta Dam (called Kennett Dam before its construction) is a concrete arch-gravity dam across the Sacramento River in Northern California in the United States. At 602 feet (183 m) high, it is the eighth-tallest dam in the United States. Located at the north end of the Sacramento Valley, Shasta Dam creates Shasta Lake for long-term water storage, flood control, hydroelectricity and protection against the intrusion of saline water. The largest reservoir in the state, Shasta Lake can hold about 4,500,000 acre feet (5,600 GL).
Envisioned as early as 1919 as an effort to conserve, control, store, and distribute water to the Central Valley, California's main agricultural region, Shasta was first authorized in the 1930s as a state undertaking. However, bonds did not sell due to the onset of the Great Depression and Shasta was transferred to the federal Bureau of Reclamation as a public works project. Construction started in earnest in 1937 under the supervision of Chief Engineer Frank Crowe. During its building, the dam provided thousands of much-needed jobs; it was finished twenty-six months ahead of schedule in 1945. When completed, the dam was the second-tallest in the United States after Hoover, and was considered one of the greatest engineering feats of all time.

Even before its dedication, Shasta Dam served an important role in World War II providing electricity to California factories, and still plays a vital part in the management of state water resources today. However, it has greatly changed the environment and ecology of the Sacramento River, and flooded sacred Native American tribal lands. In recent years, there has been debate over whether or not to raise the dam in order to allow for increased water storage and power generation, a proposal opposed by tribes and environmental experts because of negative impacts from water diversions from river flows needed by endangered fish including salmon species.

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
139 reviews
  • We visited here briefly while in town. The overlook viewing the Three Shasta’s is amazing. It is always worth a visit.  more »
  • I visited the Shasta Dam Visitor's Center, and watched an informative and free, twenty minute video, on the history of the Shasta Dam's construction. The Visitor Center is located in a position that....  more »

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