There is nowhere in the southwest that is more of a controversial spot in nature for me then the Glen Canyon Dam and National Park area (Glen Canyon Dam wikipedia). If you look at in the hands of Lady Justice it doesn’t get better. If her scales have nature, history, and all the naturalist parts in me versus the need for cities to have water for agriculture and progress then it is quite the dilemma. I greatly enjoy visiting this area just outside Page, Arizona but when I’m there I do feel a sadness as I peer down into the waters and byways and then look over at the massive electrical wires and such scaring the landscape.
I’m not writing this blog to spark debate, as what is done is done and this can’t be erased. Though, I do have a great longing to have been with those that had the opportunity to explore, hike, and canoe this area before progress erased all of it. I also have a great feeling of loss for all the native culture and landmarks that are now deeply submerged in the waters of Lake Powell. From 1956 to 1966 the dam area was constructed and all this area was soon lost.
A few years back a friend of mine sparked my interest in this area by a post on Facebook. The post was on the Goddess of Glen Canyon a simple video but one that I will never forget. The seven minutes the video spans will be worth your time. In the film group of archeologist, river runners, and a hollywood starlet set out to document around 250 culturally significant sites and over 125 side canyons that would be flooded. Katie Lee states, “I don’t think Eden could have touched Glen Canyon”. She is now in her 90’s and still an advocate for the return of Glen Canyon. While I can’t agree with her on the Eden comment you can feel how deeply the loss of this area in the name of progress was for many.
There is no right or wrong answer. As you walk around the visitor center you will be marveled by the growth of technology and how many lives this project has direct daily affect on. There is not denying that it greatly facilitated the advance of many metropolitan areas once it was completed. Even loss of the use of the area would be catastrophic.
All I am left to do is plot adventures with the existing area and enjoy what is available. It will never be without a degree of sadness for the amazing adventures people like Katie Lee had on the original area before the dam was built. The adventures that were experienced here are long lost and as time goes by will soon be forgotten.
So what does contrasting nature versus progress do? For me it is “pause and effect” i.e. giving the issue a pause for reflection and deeply contemplating the effect. Too many the scars and loss will be taken to their grave. For the majority? They will continue living their lives without any knowledge of the loss of natures, history, and an amazing area. They will flip their light switch and turn on the water faucet without nary a thought on the subject.
I have included some black and white still pictures from film. If you don’t like artistic nudity please don’t keep scrolling. The photographs were taking very tasteful and you can see there intent was not to be vulgar.
I hope I can return to this great place and do some deep exploring of what is left to explore. Thank you to those who strive to keep the history of the Canyon alive. To the rest of you get out their and experience the area!