A Quick History: Boysen Dam
Boysen State Park is located at the base of Wind River Canyon. A 19,500-acre lake with over 75 miles of shoreline and over 10 campgrounds, it’s a no brainer for fishing enthusiasts and those looking for a fun day at the lake. The reservoir is known as one of Wyoming’s best walleye and trout fisheries, but you can find perch, sauger, crappie and more in the lake.
The reservoir is the result of Boysen dam, an earth fill dam on the Wind River.
The original dam was built in 1908 when Asmus Boysen a rich business man originally from Denmark, oversaw the construction of a small concrete structure that generated 710 kilowatts of electricity. The original dam was located just downriver of the present Boysen Dam.
Asmus was a man looking to the future and he saw the dam as an investment that would not only benefit him and his mining business but also the local communities looking to purchase access to electricity. The Burlington Railroad saw the benefit of running tracks through the canyon and eventually built tracks directly across the dam.
By 1925 the dam silted up and the rising waters of flash floods began to endanger the tracks. The railroad later sued Boysen, demanding that he remove the dam. The dam was demolished in 1948. But it didn’t take long for another to be built. With investigations being done on a new dam before the old was even demolished the master plan were slowly put together and began to be implemented in 1946. The plans included the installation of government buildings, employee camps, warehouses, electrical transmission lines, as well as relocating the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railway and the relocation of US HWY 3. The dam was officially declared operational on December 11th, 1952.
The next time you take a day trip to Boysen Reservoir or pass the dam on the drive through gorgeous Wind River Canyon take a second to appreciate the crazy amounts of time
and work to create the dam that has been in operation since 1952.
Written by: Alyx Raven Zgurich