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Fort Peck Montana

Located in: Missouri River Country

Fort Peck was planned and developed by government engineers as the headquarters for construction and operation of the huge Fort Peck Dam in 1933. Fort Peck Dam is one of the largest earth-filled river impediments in the world. Its original purpose was not only to control floods but to create jobs in a depression-saddled economy. At that time, the undertaking was the nation's largest public works project. The building of the dam, at its peak in 1936, provided 10,456 jobs; it was completed in 1940. The dam spans across the Missouri River from bluff to bluff covering 3.5 miles.

The construction spawned shanty boom towns that were scattered around the work area; Square Deal, New Deal, Park Grove, Delano Heights and Wheeler. These places disappeared almost as quickly as they grew. Some, including New Deal, are now covered by the lake. All that's left today of any of them is the rebuilt Buckhorn Bar; the original burned down in 1983.

The name is derived from an old trading post that was located here. Colonel Campbell K. Peck and Commander E. H. Durfee established a trading post and Indian agency in 1867 a few miles from the present dam site. Fort Peck established a monopoly on fur trade with the Assiniboine and Sioux.

Remains of herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs, armored fish, and swimming reptiles are some fossils that are preserved at the Fort Peck Theater. Other findings suggest that the area was once subtropical and underwater.

This small town offers big recreation and entertainment opportunities. A scenic overlook just east of the dam on Montana Highway 24 offers views of Fort Peck Lake and interpretation of Lewis and Clark's journey through northeast Montana.

Fort Peck Lake is a Montana treasure for its size and outdoor opportunities. Six recreation areas within a few miles of the dam provide access for water sports, fishing and hunting. The Beaver Creek Nature Trail starts at the campground downstream from the dam and leads through wildlife habitat. A wildlife viewing auto route, the Leo B. Coleman Wildlife Exhibit, takes off from near the Fort Peck Theater.

While at Fort Peck, you can either camp or stay in the 1930s-style Fort Peck Hotel (the rooms were remodeled in 1993). Visit the Fort Peck Museum to view its collection of Indian artifacts and fossils uncovered during the construction of the dam. And if you're there between June and September, be sure to attend the Fort Peck Theater. It was built in 1934 as a movie house for the new town. Today it boasts a fine summer theater company.

This part of Fort Peck Lake is surrounded by the eastern unit of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. You can camp anywhere on the refuge. One recommendation is to go out to the Pines Recreation Area, about 20 miles southwest of the dam. It provides some great scenery and photo opportunities, especially late in the day.

Elevation: 2,100 feet.

Fort Peck is located in northeastern Montana, south of Glasgow.

Fort Peck Accommodations

A.C.E. Campground (8)
Hotel/Motel (2)

Fort Peck Restaurants

Family Restaurant (1)

All Fort Peck Businesses

Dam (1)
Fishing Access Site (4)
Lake (1)
Museum (1)
Outfitter/Guide (1)
Specialty Tour (1)
Wildlife Refuge (2)

Cities near Fort Peck Montana

Fort Peck
St. Marie

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