Lawn Lake Dam was an earthen dam in Rocky Mountain National Park, United States that failed on July 15, 1982, at about 6 a.m., in an event known as the flood of 1982. The sudden release of 30 million cubic feet (849,000 m3) of water resulted in a flash flood that killed three people camping in the park and caused $31 million in damage to the town of Estes Park, Colorado and other downstream areas.
Lawn Lake was originally a natural lake with a surface area of 16.4 acres (6.6 ha), located at an elevation of approximately 11,000 feet (3,400 m) in the Rocky Mountains. In 1903 a group of farmers from Loveland built a dam to increase it to a surface area of 48 acres (19.4 ha) for the purpose of providing water for irrigation in Loveland.
Over the years the road that had been cut to permit construction of the dam fell into disrepair and ceased to exist. Because of the dam's remote and difficult location, inspection and repairs lapsed. The Colorado State Engineer determined that the probable cause of the dam failure was deterioration of lead caulking on the joint between the outlet pipe and the gate valve leading to internal erosion of the earth-fill dam.There had been issues reported during inspections in 1951, 1975, 1977 and 1978.
When the dam failed the waters rushed down the Roaring River valley, which falls 2,500 feet (760 m) in 6 miles (9.7 km), at a peak rate of 18,000 cubic feet per second (510 m3/s), scouring a large gully out of the mountain stream and killing one person camping alongside it. At this rate, the lake emptied in about half an hour. When the waters reached the broader valley of Fall River at Horseshoe Park they spread out and slowed, leaving behind a large alluvial fan of debris. The flood continued down Fall River and hit the Cascade Dam which stored water to run a hydroelectric plant about a mile (2 km) downstream. Cascade Dam failed from the onslaught and added its waters to the flood. The Aspenglen campground was destroyed and two campers who returned to recover camping gear lost their lives, due to insufficient warning from park rangers.
The flood entered the town of Estes Park and caused severe damage to 177 downtown businesses (75 percent of Estes Park's commercial activity).In Estes Park the flood joined the Big Thompson River and flowed into Lake Estes on the eastern edge of the city. Olympus Dam, part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, there withstood the deluge and the flood was halted.
The scar left by the scouring of Roaring River and the alluvial fan at Horseshoe Park are still very apparent 37 years later and will remain for a very long time. Twenty-five years after the accident, the extent of the former reservoir is still clearly evident, and at the mouth of the lake, the start of the Roaring River flows through the location of the former dam.
As a consequence of the dam failure, aging dams at Pear Reservoir, Bluebird Lake and Sandbeach Lake in the park were demolished and removed.
Estes Park is a statutory town in Larimer County, Colorado, United States. A popular summer resort and the location of the headquarters for Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park lies along the Big Thompson River. Estes Park had a population of 5,858 at the 2010 census. Landmarks include The Stanley Hotel and The Baldpate Inn. The town overlooks Lake Estes and Olympus Dam.
The City of Loveland is the Home Rule Municipality that is the second most populous municipality in Larimer County, Colorado, United States. Loveland is situated 46 miles (74 km) north of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver and is the 14th most populous city in Colorado. As of the 2010 census the population of Loveland was 66,859, and in 2019 the population was estimated at 78,877. The city forms part of the Fort Collins-Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Front Range Urban Corridor. The city's public schools are part of the Thompson R2-J School District.
Lake Travis is a reservoir on the Colorado River in central Texas in the United States.
Rocky Mountain National Park is an American national park located approximately 76 mi (122 km) northwest of Denver International Airport in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. The eastern and western slopes of the Continental Divide run directly through the center of the park with the headwaters of the Colorado River located in the park's northwestern region. The main features of the park include mountains, alpine lakes and a wide variety of wildlife within various climates and environments, from wooded forests to mountain tundra.
Glen Canyon Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Colorado River in northern Arizona, United States, near the town of Page. The 710-foot (220 m) high dam was built by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) from 1956 to 1966 and forms Lake Powell, one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the U.S. with a capacity of 27 million acre feet (33 km3). The dam is named for Glen Canyon, a series of deep sandstone gorges now flooded by the reservoir; Lake Powell is named for John Wesley Powell, who in 1869 led the first expedition to traverse the Colorado's Grand Canyon by boat.
The Big Thompson River is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 78 miles (123 km) long, in the U.S. state of Colorado. It originates in Forest Canyon into Lake Estes, in Estes Park, CO. It includes four crossings/bridges which are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The San Juan River is a major tributary of the Colorado River in the Southwestern United States, providing the chief drainage for the Four Corners region of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. Originating as snowmelt in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, it flows 383 miles (616 km) through the deserts of northern New Mexico and southeastern Utah to join the Colorado River at Glen Canyon.
The Salt River is a river in Gila and Maricopa counties in Arizona, United States, that is the largest tributary of the Gila River. The river is about 200 miles (320 km) long. Its drainage basin is about 13,700 square miles (35,000 km2) large. The longest of the Salt River's many tributaries is the 195-mile (314 km) Verde River. The Salt's headwaters tributaries, the Black River and East Fork, increase the river's total length to about 300 miles (480 km). The name Salt River comes from the fact that the river flows over large salt deposits shortly after the merging of the White and Black Rivers.
The Verde River is a major tributary of the Salt River in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is about 170 miles (270 km) long and carries a mean flow of 602 cubic feet per second (17.0 m3/s) at its mouth. It is one of the largest perennial streams in Arizona.
Keystone Lake is a reservoir in northeastern Oklahoma on the Arkansas and Cimarron rivers. It is located upstream about 23 miles (37 km) from Tulsa. It was created in 1968 when the Keystone Dam was completed. The primary purposes are: flood control, hydroelectric power generation, wildlife management and recreation.
The Colorado-Big Thompson Project is a federal water diversion project in Colorado designed to collect West Slope mountain water from the headwaters of the Colorado River and divert it to Colorado's Front Range and plains. In Colorado, approximately 80% of the state's precipitation falls on the West Slope, in the Rocky Mountains, while around 80% of the state's growing population lives along the East Slope, between the cities of Fort Collins and Pueblo.
Glen Haven is an unincorporated community and a U.S. Post Office in Larimer County, Colorado, United States. The Glen Haven Post Office has the ZIP Code 80532.
Glen Canyon Dam, a concrete arch dam on the Colorado River in the American state of Arizona, is viewed as carrying a large amount of risk, most notably due to siltation. The Colorado and San Juan rivers deposit large volumes of silt into Lake Powell, slowly decreasing its capacity. The sediment will eventually build up against the dam and could affect its safe operation and lead to its failure.
The Bonneville flood was a catastrophic flooding event in the last ice age, which involved massive amounts of water inundating parts of southern Idaho and eastern Washington along the course of the Snake River. Unlike the Missoula Floods, which also occurred during the same period in the Pacific Northwest, the Bonneville flood only happened once. The flood is believed to be the second largest in known geologic history.
The Grand Ditch, also known as the Grand River Ditch and originally known as the North Grand River Ditch, is a water diversion project in the Never Summer Mountains, in northern Colorado. It is 14.3 miles (23.0 km) long, 20 feet (6.1 m) wide, and 3 feet (0.91 m) deep on average. Streams and creeks that flow from the highest peaks of the Never Summer Mountains are diverted into the ditch, which flows over the Continental Divide at La Poudre Pass at 10,175 feet (3,101 m), delivering the water into Long Draw Reservoir and the Cache La Poudre River for eastern plains farmers. The water would otherwise have gone into the Colorado River that flows west towards the Pacific; instead, the Cache La Poudre River goes East and through the Mississippi River discharges into the Gulf of Mexico.
The Roaring River is a 6.5-mile-long (10.5 km) tributary of the Fall River in Larimer County, Colorado. The river's source is Crystal Lake in the Mummy Range of Rocky Mountain National Park The river flows through Lawn Lake before a confluence with the Fall River in Horseshoe Park. The collapse of the Lawn Lake Dam in 1982 scoured the river's channel and deposited an alluvial fan of debris in Horseshoe Park.
The Colorado River is a major river of the western United States and northwest Mexico in North America. Its headwaters are in the Rocky Mountains where La Poudre Pass Lake is its source. Located in north central Colorado it flows southwest through the Colorado Plateau country of western Colorado, southeastern Utah and northwestern Arizona where it flows through the Grand Canyon. It turns south near Las Vegas, Nevada, forming the Arizona–Nevada border in Lake Mead and the Arizona–California border a few miles below Davis Dam between Laughlin, Nevada and Needles, California before entering Mexico in the Colorado Desert. Most of its waters are diverted into the Imperial Valley of Southern California. In Mexico its course forms the boundary between Sonora and Baja California before entering the Gulf of California. This article describes most of the major features along the river.
Roaring Brook is a tributary of the Lackawanna River in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is approximately 21 miles (34 km) long and flows through Covington Township, Madison Township, Moscow, Roaring Brook Township, Elmhurst Township, Dunmore, and Scranton. The watershed of the stream has an area of 56.3 square miles (146 km2). Its named tributaries include Little Roaring Brook, Rock Bottom Creek, White Oak Run, Van Brunt Creek, Bear Brook, and East Branch Roaring Brook. It has a high level of water quality for much of its length. However, it is affected by abandoned mining land, stormwater, and other impacts in its lower reaches. Reservoirs in the watershed include the Hollister Reservoir, the Elmhurst Reservoir, and others. The stream also flows through the Nay Aug Gorge and passes over the Nay Aug Falls, which are on the National Register of Geologic Landmarks. It flows through a concrete channel in its lower reaches. The topography of the watershed contains rolling hills in its upper reaches and the mountainous land of the Moosic Mountains in its lower reaches.
History of Rocky Mountain National Park began when Paleo-Indians traveled along what is now Trail Ridge Road to hunt and forage for food. Ute and Arapaho people subsequently hunted and camped in the area. In 1820, the Long Expedition, led by Stephen H. Long for whom Longs Peak was named, approached the Rockies via the Platte River. Settlers began arriving in the mid-1800s, displacing the Native Americans who mostly left the area voluntarily by 1860, while others were removed to reservations by 1878.
Horseshoe Park is a flat at 8,524 feet (2,598 m) in elevation in Larimer County, Colorado. It is within the Rocky Mountain National Park, which lies between Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake, Colorado on the west. Horseshoe Park is home to bighorn sheep, elk and other wildlife, and it is a wetland sanctuary for wide variety of birds. Recreational activities include picnicking, hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Roaring River, Lawn Lake and Crystal Lake are located here.