The awful Spread Creek Dam in Grand Teton NP to be removed

Gradual purchase of private lands made the dam pointless-

You have probably crossed Spread Creek if you visited Grand Teton National Park. It is a broad swath of gravel with a tiny stream running through the sun-baked rocks.

I didn’t know the cause of this for many years. Finally I was shown the crumbling old Spread Creek dam, a long ago scheme to irrigate to ranch pastures. Although it will take years to restore the riparian area, it is good news that this old mistake will be removed.

Spread Creek Dam removal to improve trout habitat. Project near national park will open up 50 miles of stream to migrating cutthroat. “Spread Creek Dam will be demolished to improve trout habitat and return the area to a more natural state”. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.



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  1. Bob Of Wyoming Avatar
    Bob Of Wyoming

    The removal of that darn dam is wonderful news! Long overdo for sure!!!

    What is not said by the NPS nor the Forest Svc is what is going to be done to reclaim the destruction of Park & Forest Svc lands where they have a large gravel operation only one mile west of the dam. I believe the Gov’t treats this gravel pit as “out of sight – out of mind”, because few venture down the Spread Creek Road except hunters in the fall.

    Google Earth has an updated image of the area taken in 2009. Open Google Earth and search MOOSE HEAD RANCH, WYOMING. The Spread Creek Rd. (FS rd 30290) is just east of the ranch coming off US 26. Follow the road east and you’ll see Uncle Sam’s grandiose Gravel operation. Another mile is the dam.

    This operation has been going on for several years as close as one tenth of a mile from the creek itself. I don’t know if we will end up with a lake at the pit site or how they would begin to fill it in.

    I do know that if you float the Snake River from Pacific Creek to Dead Man’s Bar there are two things that will dominate your river experience: 1, the sound of jet planes landing and taking off from the JH Airport. 2, the constant sound of gravel being crushed and sorted.

    Out of site yes, but never out of mind!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan