Generating capacity: 60 megawatts
Ryan Dam is a six-unit hydroelectric plant on the Missouri River, about 10 miles downstream from Great Falls, Mont. The units have a total generating capacity of 60 megawatts. (One megawatt can satisfy the average energy needs of 750 households.)
Built at the crest of the Great Falls of the Missouri, Ryan Dam began operation in 1915. It is 1,366 feet long and 61 feet high, and its reservoir is 7 miles long and has a storage capacity of 5,000 acre-feet. The dam is classified as a “run-of-river” project because it can generate electricity using the water that flows down the river, without the need to store additional water supplies.
Ryan Dam is one of eight hydroelectric plants and one reservoir along the Missouri and Madison Rivers covered under PPL Montana’s Project 2188 operating license. Through this license, PPL Montana works with state and federal agencies and private groups to implement a diverse array of environmental stewardship projects to protect habitats on or near the banks of the Missouri and Madison Rivers.
The Ryan Island Park public recreational picnic area is located just downstream from Ryan Dam.
Ryan Dam, which is part of the Great Falls Portage National Historic Landmark, is located between PPL Montana’s Cochrane and Morony Dams. The company also operates the Black Eagle and Rainbow dams on the Missouri River near Great Falls.
Ryan Dam Clubhouse Information
The historic Ryan Dam Clubhouse, at the Great Falls of the Missouri, is an indoor facility just above the Ryan Dam picnic area.
Maintained and owned by PPL Montana, the clubhouse has a kitchen, equipped with two stoves and two refrigerators, a reception hall and restrooms. It’s available for public use and free of charge from Mother’s Day through the last weekend of September.
Reservations must be made by e-mailing Mich Ostertag at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by calling 406-268-2324. PPL Montana provides cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, garbage cans and garbage bags. All we ask is that guests clean up the area before they leave.
The Ryan Dam picnic area is open to the public Mother’s Day through Labor Day daylight to dark, seven days a week. Reservations are not required to use this facility.
Both the clubhouse, built in 1913 and expanded in the 1930s, and picnic area are handicapped accessible.