on my most recent trip to Sioux Falls, our driving adventures took us out to Lewis & Clark State Park, situated on the banks of the Lewis & Clark Lake, created by the Gavins Point Dam spanning the Missouri River. it’s kind of cool to go someplace that’s so obviously a summer-tourist-weekend-bonanza in the off season. no competition for parking, no dodging small children, no fighting off boat launchers for access to the jetty or to pose as Lewis & Clark on the launch docks.
although on our impromptu jaunt to the west of Yankton was aimed primarily at checking out the park, I managed to convince Becca to take a right along Crest Road that we might investigate the concrete structure on the south end. in a matter of minutes, we were back in Nebraska (again), crossing over the Gavins Point Dam. the hydroelectric dam that impounds Lewis & Clark Lake was constructed between 1954 and 1957 and was authorized as part of the 1944 Pick-Sloan Plan, aimed at conservation, control and use of water resources along the Missouri River Basin. it’s one of six dams on the Missouri River and (according to the US Army Corps of Engineers who maintains the site) produces electricity for some 65,000 people annually.
maybe a tour of the facility would have introduced me to the finer and/or more impressive points of the Gavins Point Dam (but as they’re only open Memorial-Labor Day …); maybe the sight is more awe-inspiring with water flowing over the dam; maybe sunlight glinting off the surface of the lake illuminates this architectural feat of utilitarianism in a mystical way; or maybe I’ll forever be underwhelmed by dams after staring down the slope of Hoover Dam. whatever the reason, I wouldn’t go out of my way to see the Gavins Point Dam again. especially not in the height of tourist season — it goes down to one lane as you pass the generator facility and I have no interest in sitting in that waiting line.