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The Lochsa (pronounced “lock-saw”) was included by the U.S. Congress in 1968 as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The Lochsa and Selway rivers and their tributaries have no dams, and their flow is unregulated. In late spring, mid-May to mid-June, the Lochsa River is rated as one of the world’s best for continuous whitewater.
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I spent a couple of days here, and will definitely return.
“Clark recorded that on the night of September 14, 1805, the Corps “Encamped opposit a Small Island at the mouth of a branch on the right side of the river which is at this place 80 yards wide, Swift and Stoney.” That river’s Indian name, which the journalists evidently never heard, is Lochsa, meaning swift water. The “branch”–a small stream–no longer flows; its bed was obliterated during the expansion of the ranger station. The men put their 40 horses on the island for the night, probably to discourage them from wandering away in search of food. The Corps bypassed this campsite by several miles on their return trip in June of 1806.
Powell Ranger Station of the Clearwater National Forest, which was built here about 1910, was named for the trapper and homesteader Charley Powell, who lived nearby at the time.” –lewis-clark.org
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A writer from the Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine toured the falls of the Missouri in the autumn of 1887 and reported: “The appearance of the Black Eagle Fall suggests its future use. Some day it will drive saws, spindles, and mill-stones.”4 Indeed, plans for harnessing the fall’s potential were already under way. The first dam, completed in 1891, provided both direct mechanical power and a limited amount of electricity for local use.
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“Despite their splendor the Great Falls presented much danger and hardship for the explorers. In one afternoon Lewis’s path converged with a bear, a mountain cat or wolverine and three buffalo bulls; to Lewis it seemed that “all the beasts of the neighbourhood had made a league to distroy me, or that some fortune was disposed to amuse herself at my expence” (140). Many members of the expedition were ill, including Sacagawea who had been suffering for more than a week from an unknown sickness. Clark, Charbonneau, Sacagawea and her baby nearly drowned in a violent storm of torrential rain and huge hailstones. Grizzly bears, rattlesnakes and mosquitoes were a constant worry, even to the dog, Seaman, who Clark noted was “in a constant state of alarm with these bear and keeps barking all night” (151) –nps.gov
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