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With more than 100 miles of shoreline, Roosevelt Lake is the largest body of water contained entirely in Arizona (Lake Powell and Lake Mead share their locations with other states). Roosevelt Lake was created by the Roosevelt Dam, which at the time was the world's tallest dam. Located about two hours northeast of Phoenix, Roosevelt Lake is a wonderful destination for the outdoor enthusiast. Camping, fishing, hiking, boating, photography, and the mountain and desert scenery should be at the top of any visitor's to-do list. Winter months bring migratory birds, and eagles and osprey are favorites. Little commercial activity is around Lake Roosevelt, but that's its outdoor charm.
The junction of Tonto Creek and the Salt River saw the beginning construction of Roosevelt Dam in 1903. A number of major floods slowed construction progress in 1905. Roosevelt Dam was completed in 1911, providing water storage for the Salt River Project, flood control for the Salt River Valley, and hydropower generation. The dam contributed more to the settlement of Central Arizona than any other dam in Arizona. Both the dam and the resulting reservoir were named after Theodore Roosevelt in 1959. At construction completion, Roosevelt Dam was the largest masonry dam in the world, and Roosevelt Lake was the world's largest artificial reservoir. The year 1996 saw a significant dam improvement project resulting in a 20% increase in storage for Roosevelt Lake, raising Roosevelt Dam's height to 357 feet.
Many visitors bring their own boats to Roosevelt Lake, with seven launch sites at Indian Point, Roosevelt Marina, Cholla Recreation Site, Windy Hill, Grapevine and Schoolhouse. Roosevelt Marina, under contract to Tonto National Forest, provides boat rentals and fishing/camping supplies to visitors. There are boats for rent from 16 foot fishing skiffs to 24 foot deck boats.
Fishing is a popular Roosevelt Lake activity. There are a multitude of secluded coves and inlets providing much enjoyment to the interested angling enthusiast. Game fish, including crappie, flathead and channel catfish, and smallmouth and largemouth bass are plentifully in residence in Lake Roosevelt.
Camping is a favorite activity for many visitors, both for fishing camps and for just plain outdoor enjoyment. There are over 700 developed camp sites. These include tables, fire rings with grills, shade ramadas, toilets and showers. They are usually located near adjacent boat ramps. There are also five undeveloped daily-use fee sites which include trash receptacles, portable toilets, and shoreline boat launching. In addition, small isolated islands and coves provide great opportunities for camping and relaxing in the unique Sonoran Desert environment. For the geocachers, there are 13 caches within 10 miles.
Roosevelt Lake is for outdoor enthusiasts, anglers, and those looking for peace and quiet with the added benefit of superb stargazing, scenery, and communing with nature. It's a wonderful experience of nature's best.
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