Brett French reports: New fishing access site highlights historic dam fight
By angelamontana

Posted: August 10, 2023

A new fishing access site along the Yellowstone River just south of Livingston will include information for visitors to learn about an historic event in Montana’s history. In the 1970s, a plan was proposed to tap the Yellowstone River to fuel coal-powered electrical plants across Montana and Wyoming. To guarantee enough water, the plan would have dammed the Yellowstone River just south of Livingston, creating the Allenspur Dam. Had it been built, the dam would have flooded about 31 miles of the Paradise Valley creating a reservoir 4 miles wide. To counter the proposal, a division of what is now the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks conducted studies along the river to assess the possible impacts. An entire edition of Montana Outdoors magazine was dedicated to the research. In addition, the state agreed to a plan to leave water in the river as a necessity for fish and wildlife. In the end, the dam plan was killed, and the result is the Yellowstone remains the longest flowing undammed river in the lower 48 states.

To learn more about the incident, and one of the men who helped guide the state studies of the dam’s impact and who fought the proposal, check out my story at

Written by Brett French | Outdoors editor | Billings Gazette Communications

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