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Barker Dam

Barker Dam

In the early 1900's, ranchers, needing water for their stock, searched for ways to supplement natural water sources. They dug wells, improved springs, and expanded natural catch basins in drainages of canyons and rock formations by building small dams.

This area began as a natural tank, a catch basin for rainfall and runoff. It was expanded into a dam by the Barker & Shay Cattle Company, and still later enlarged by Bill Keys, owner of the Desert Queen Ranch. A pipeline once carried water to the cattle trough in the wash behind the dam.

Cattle ranching in this area was a short-lived effort. When the rainfall decreased, grasses declined and many springs dried up. Cattle raising moved farther west to greener pastures.

Today Barker Dam is a reminder of the past, its waters reflecting only the brown rocks and blue skies of the desert. It is a quiet place in a noisy world and a precious watering hole for desert animals and migrating birds.

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Barker Dam at high water mark
ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
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