Announcements

Corps closes visitor centers, suspends tours

Due to health and safety precautions regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), all U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Omaha District Visitor Centers will be closed and all public group tours and events and have been cancelled until further notice. This is strictly a preventative measure. The health and safety of the public, employees, contractors and volunteers is our top concern. The Omaha District is monitoring the situation and will continue to take the appropriate actions to follow CDC and other federal, state and local public health officials’ orders and recommendations for public health and safety. 

Day use areas, parks and boat ramps that are currently open will remain open at this time. We urge the public to practice social distancing in these areas.

Campgrounds remain closed for the winter season across the district and the scheduled opening of campgrounds for the summer recreation season is currently being reviewed. To check campground and reservation status please visit: http://www.recreation.gov.

The Omaha District will provide timely updates if any additional public facility closures are needed, and will continue to update the District website with the latest information.

America the Beautiful Passes will still be available online, at: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm

The Omaha District urges the public to follow CDC and State and local public health agency guidelines and recommendations regarding health and safety, more information can be found at: http://www.coronavirus.gov.

 

Corps of Engineers, Garrison Project announces winter access policy, entry points

RIVERDALE, N.D. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Garrison Project announces their 2020-2021 winter access policy. This year there will be 113 entry points to Lake Sakakawea and 20 entry points to Lake Audubon. These entry points are a combination of boat ramps, shoreline access sites and freeways which are in limited development areas. A couple of these points are foot traffic only due to terrain.

Full story:  https://go.usa.gov/x7tWh

 

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Prevent invasive species Water Safety Reserve a campsite at USACE campgrounds at Recreation.gov Purchase Navigation and Boating Maps from the Jefferson National Parks Association

The River Basin Balancer Game offers insight into an inland waterway and a system of reservoirs, which are operated with a goal for serving each of the benefits, flood control, navigation, hydropower, irrigation, water supply, recreation, fish and wildlife, and water quality, for which many USACE reservoirs are authorized and constructed. Users can take charge of river operations and experience the unique challenges presented when managing reservoir operations in a variety of weather conditions across a geographically diverse basin.
Test your speed, reflexes and boating knowledge with the Corps' new Lake Guard game app. The free app teaches users about water safety gear and boating hazards preparing them for real life experiences in or around the water.
The trout pond near the Downstream Campground at Garrison Dam. The Trout Pond was renovated last year.
The Garrison Dam West Tailrace Road, at Garrison Dam near Riverdale, N.D., which provides access to the Garrison Power Plant wing walls and west side of the tailrace area, is now open for public use. The area was closed for a road reconstruction project and to repair damages incurred during the flooding in 2011.
A Northern Pike caught in March 2013 while ice fishing on Lake Sakakawea/Garrison Dam Project on the Northeast side of the lake in Steinke Bay, which is near Sportsmen's Centennial Park access and Steinke WMA access. Ice Fishing is a popular outdoor winter activity for may North Dakotans.
Garrison Dam near Riverdale, N.D. Lake Sakakawea, formed by the Garrison Dam is the third largest reservoir in the United States.

Location: Near Garrison, N.D., River Mile 1,389.9

Lake Sakakawea and Garrison Dam are located 75 miles north of Bismarck, North Dakota amongst the rolling prairie and badlands of Western North Dakota.  Lake Sakakawea is the third largest man-made lake in the United States.  The lake is 178 miles long, has over 1,500 miles of shoreline, and deepest part is about 175 ft.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers oversees management of the public lands and waters of Lake Sakakawea which provide a variety of benefits to the public which include: recreation, fish and wildlife, flood damage reduction, hydropower production, irrigation, municipal and industrial water intakes, water quality, and navigation.

The Corps has several partners (Federal, Tribal, State, County, and City) who operate campgrounds, parks, and marinas on Lake Sakakawea.

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Garrison Dam was built in a region which served as a major transportation route. When the first fur traders arrived in the region in the 1700s, they found three Tribes of Indians settled there. The Hidatsa, Mandan, and the Arikara were farmers whose earth lodge villages served as major trading centers with the more nomadic tribes of the plains as well as travelers coming up the river.

In 1804, the Hidatsa villages on the Knife River hosted the expedition led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark, who had been commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the Louisiana Purchase from St. Louis to the Pacific. While at the villages, the enlisted a Canadian trapper named Toussaint Charboneau to serve as an interpreter and guide. Charboneau's wife, Sacajawea (Sakakawea - a Hidatsa word meaning Bird Woman) was a Shoshoni whose knowledge of the unknown land and people proved invaluable to Lewis and Clark and an important addition to the expedition. In honor of her courage, Lake Sakakawea was named for her.

The Lewis and Clark expedition opened the doorway to the West. Traders continued up the Missouri in increasing numbers setting up a number of small fur trading posts along the river. Federal soldiers became the next occupants of the territory as Fort Clark, Fort Abraham Lincoln, Fort Stevenson and Fort Buford were erected along the Missouri to protect steamboat traffic and settlers.

By the 1880s, the region opened to settlers. Many were farmers immigrating from northern Europe and Russia. In the Little Missouri River area, raising cattle became the primary industry. Future President Theodore Roosevelt tried his hand in the cattle business at his Elkhorn Ranch. Agriculture remained the mainstay of the economy in the 20th Century until the completion of Garrison Dam brought the recreation industry to Sakakawea County.

Fishing is the primary recreational activity at Lake Sakakawea. There are several boat ramps located around Lake Sakakawea and most are in recreation areas and some in wildlife management areas. Shoreline Access Areas are located around the lake and offer an additional means of getting to the water’s edge.

For information Corps-operated recreation at Lake Sakakawea visit Recreation.gov.

The Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery and Visitor Center is Located below the downstream of Garrison Dam. The hatchery visitor center is complete with five 400 gallon aquariums that will give you the pleasure of viewing the fishes of North Dakota in their environment.

The Audubon National Wildlife Refuge Complex provides several exhibits that feature wetlands, native prairie, and the abundant wildlife that can be observed on the refuge.

Public lands offer a great place for sportsmen to hunt pheasants, grouse, partridge, turkey, waterfowl and deer. There are a number of different wildlife management areas around the lake. In addition there are other areas that trapping/snaring may be allowed.

Lake Sakakawea fishing regulations are established and enforced by the State of North Dakota and the Fort Berthold Indian Tribes Game & Fish Department. The big lake offers a wide-range of sport fishing including pike, walleye and Chinook salmon.

There are many Ice Fishing Access Areas located around Lake Sakakawea. Most are boat ramps but there are other areas that provide a legal means for the general public to access the water during the winter.

The Corps of Engineers has certain project restrictions for areas it directly operates (buildings, recreation, and day use areas) for hunting, trapping and snaring.

  • From Bismarck: North Dakota, take Highway 83 north and turn left on Highway 200 west toward Riverdale.
  • From Minot: North Dakota, take Highway 83 south and turn right onto Highway 48. At intersection, turn right onto Highway 200 west toward Riverdale.

Garrison Dam Project Office and Information Center Hours:

Monday thru Friday 7:30am to 4 pm.

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • 201 1st ST, PO Box 527
  • Riverdale, North Dakota 58565

Phone: (701) 654-7411

Hours of operation:
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday - Saturday
Beginning Labor Day
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday—Saturday


  • Due to increased security, visitors for powerhouse tours should arrive 15 minutes prior to the tour and visitors over 18 years old must show a government issued photo ID.

Walk-in tours are available from June 4 through August 1:

  • Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

Scheduled Tours: Call (701) 654-7411. 

Garrison News Releases

  • Possible nationwide closure of Corps-operated campgrounds and day-use parks

    If the potential shutdown of the federal government goes into effect, Corps-operated campgrounds and day-use parks will be impacted nationwide beginning Tuesday, Oct. 1. Corps parks leased to partner agencies and concessionaires will remain open, but cannot be supported by the Corps while the shutdown is in place. Several parks in, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and Colorado are leased to partner agencies. The public is encouraged to ensure their campground is not impacted before arriving.
  • Draft Environmental Assessment for land exchange at Garrison Dam/Lake Sakakawea Project available for public review

    A draft environmental assessment for the exchange of federal and private lands at Garrison Dam/Lake Sakakawea Project in N.D. is currently available for public review. The draft EA evaluates the effects of exchanging 11.4 acres of land owned by the Corps and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with 5.9 acres currently owned by a private land owner.
  • Vegetation control to begin on Missouri River sandbars between Garrison Dam and Lake Oahe headwaters, N.D.

    During the period between September 1, 2013 and September 30, 2013, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have a contractor spraying sandbars aerially with aquatically-approved herbicides for vegetation control on emergent sandbar habitat in the Missouri River below Garrison Dam and ending in the Lake Oahe headwaters (river miles 1381 to 1283). The Bismarck-Mandan area is excluded from spraying activities (river miles 1310 to 1325).
  • Power plant tour schedule changes at Garrison Dam

    Power plant tour schedules at the Garrison Dam in Riverdale, N.D., have been adjusted for the remainder of 2013. Walk-in tours are offered Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays Memorial Weekend through August 16, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Central Time. However, walk-in tours have been cancelled for July 26 and 27 due to limited staffing. Additionally, tours by scheduled appointment have been cancelled for the remainder of 2013. For more information, visitors may call 701-654-7411.
  • Play it safe and know the rules this upcoming holiday

    With the upcoming holiday, visitors to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas are reminded that it is unlawful to possess or discharge fireworks of any kind on Corps property. Additionally, some areas are experiencing drought conditions and visitors are reminded that fires are only allowed in designated fire rings, fire places, grills or facilities specifically designated for this purpose. Local project offices will have detailed information regarding local fire bans or restrictions.