1. Introduction---Bureau of Reclamation

By Discover our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary Series
Large Dam and two jets of water pushing out of large red rocks
Hoover Dam Bureau of Reclamation

The National Park Service’s Heritage Education Services and its Intermountain Region Heritage Partnerships Program, in partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, proudly invite you to experience Bureau of Reclamation constructed historic dams, powerplants, and water projects in the western United States. Bureau of Reclamation projects have a sweeping impact on irrigation, hydroelectric power, navigation, flood control, and municipal and industrial water supplies. These projects embody a complex and rich history that goes well beyond the concrete and earth used to build these engineering marvels. As an arid area of the nation, the West relies heavily on the dams and water projects that tamed the rivers to channel the life giving water and provide the hydroelectric power essential for people to settle and thrive in the West. The Bureau of Reclamation Historic Dams and Water Control Projects Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary highlights 35 historic dams, powerplants, and water projects listed in the National Register of Historic Places that bring the history and importance of water and the role of the Bureau of Reclamation to life. To understand the West and capture its spirit, there is no substitute for visiting the historic structures that provide water and hydroelectric power, and hence life, to the American West. 

The Bureau of Reclamation travel itinerary offers several ways to discover and experience the historic dams, powerplants, and water projects that shaped and illustrate the history and development of the American West:

• Descriptions of each featured historic place on the List of Sites highlight its significance, photographs and other illustrations, and information on how to visit.

• Essays provide highlights about the history of Water in the West and the Bureau of Reclamation and its engineering achievements that offer context for understanding historic places featured in the itinerary.

• Maps help visitors plan what to see and do and get directions to historic places to visit. 

• A Learn More section provides links to relevant websites such as individual dam and water control project information, tourism websites with information on cultural events and activities, other things to see and do, and dining and lodging possibilities. This section also includes a bibliography.

View the itinerary online or print it as a guide if you plan to visit in person. The Bureau of Reclamation itinerary, the 54th in this ongoing series, is part of the Department of the Interior, National Park Service's strategy to promote public awareness of history and encourage visits to historic places throughout the nation.  The itineraries are created by a partnership of the National Park Service; the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers; and Federal, State, and local governments and private organizations in communities, regions, and heritage areas throughout the United States.  The itineraries help people everywhere learn about and plan trips to visit the amazing diversity of this country’s historic places that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service and its partners hope you enjoy this itinerary and others in the series.  


Visit the National Park Service Travel Bureau of Reclamation's Historic Water Projects to learn more about dams and powerplants.

Last updated: January 13, 2017