20 March 2010

Koocanusa Lake of Many Faces - Montana

This week we took a trip over to Lake Koocanusa. Actually, it is not a lake but a man made reservoir. Libby dam, built in 1972, blocks the free flow of the Kootenai River forming a narrow lake that runs 90 miles, 42 miles of which are in British Columbia.

The reservoir was a joint project with Canada and that is how it got it's name. The water flowing into the lake is from the Canadian Kootenay River and flows out to the American Kootenai River. So, you get Koo for the Kootenay(ai), Can for Canada and USA; Koocanusa. Ok, I just learned something. The name actually came from a local woman who won a contest for coming up with it.


There are many outdoor recreation opportunities at the Koocanusa. There are a number of campgrounds, some improved some primitive, and fishing is pretty good. Most local people go for the kocanee salmon. You can find a listing of campsites and boat launches here. You see what you might catch here here. Because of it's relatively isolated location almost any time of the year you'll have to lake nearly to yourself.


The reason I call the Koocanusa the lake of many faces is because depending on the day and time you go it always looks different. The water can look like the tropics or it can be dark and brooding. If you are a photographer this affords endless opportunities to try and capture something special. It was exactly at this time OF year that I got my one really special photograph HEAVENLY EYE.


This is the time of year when the lake is drained down to allow for the spring runoff from the Canadian Rockies. The low water exposes some interesting landscapes.



If you go to the tiny berg of Rexford (pop. 149) you can find an RV Park boat access and hiking opportunities. There is a really nice little trail that follows along the bluff overlooking the lake. For a really good workout you can walk for miles on the sandy shore but you have to come at low tide so to speak.

Speaking of sand I took this photo of the sand and no, the sand isn't really blue I used a filter to give that effect. I'm a little daffy over the patterns in nature. To my eye there are just plain pretty.

Blue Sand by Kinsey Barnard
Blue Sand by Kinsey Barnard

So, there you have it, Lake Koocanusa. If you looking to get away from the madding crowd you can certainly do it here.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography


1 comment:

jane said...

Just the thought of walking on some sort of beach sounds really nice right now. I don't have the resources to go to Lake Koocanusa right now, so I'm thinking of finding an lake in St. George, Utah as long as they have an rv park. Someday, though, I'll get to go there and walk on that sand.