My latest excursion was a trip to Lake Powell, with my uncle. We spent the weekend there, and I was amazed how much the water level has dropped, leaving behind a thick white bathtub ring from the previous water level. The skeletons of dead cottonwoods, crumbling sandstone cliffs, and bleached cliff dwellings are all that remain from the original beauty of Glen Canyon. The landscape looks like a cemetery of all things drowned by Lake Powell. I feel sad and angry; I feel a few rednecks robbed Glen Canyon of its beauty when deciding to construct the artificial Glen Canyon Dam. They also robbed my generation and those to come, of a beauty that we can only view in photographs, or hear from those who loved the original canyon. I want the Colorado River to flow freely, allowing it to sculpt every area without restraint.
After seeing what the reservoir has done to Glen Canyon, it should be drained. They say with 40 years, the natural elements may be able to restore Glen Canyon to some of its original beauty. However, I know that there is a local economy built on the foundations of Lake Powell. The National Park Service calls the entire contraption; Glen Canyon Recreation Area. One tourist company’s slogan reads: Lake Powell – America’s Natural Playground.
As you can see, I would probably side with the Glen Canyon Institute and Living Rivers, on decommissioning the dam, and permanently draining Lake Powell forever; but I merely hold an opinion on this matter. I cannot speak against those who depend upon Lake Powell for their livelihood, but people need to start respecting the land, instead of exploiting it. Many see the land for economical or recreational value, or something that needs to be conquered. But the land is not ours to be exploited.
There are thousands of gas-guzzling houseboats traversing the reservoir like the Mississippi. It is a demoralizing issue altogether, and I want to see the canyon restored to its previous shape.
Mother Earth will take care of everything. A massive flood could easily rip out the dam. But the current drought has caused Lake Powell to drop nearly 130 feet. If the current drought persists, the dam may become completely useless. And whether we realize it or not, humans are only a small part of the ‘big picture.’
2 thoughts on “The Monstrosity of Lake Powell”
Hi there. I can’t even remember the chain of links I followed to find your sites but I’m very glad. Very nice photos and I have just begun to read your entries. I started out reading the book Cadillac Desert a few years ago and then moved on to some Edward Abbey. When I read books like that I realize how much nature is a part of me, and how much of an interest I have in its well being. Great to see someone else with the same interests. More later. Keep writing. Native-Eagle has a nice site as well, thank you for the links.
I hear a lot of people who’ve expressed the same opinion as you have in this post. It’s been years since I’ve seen Lake Powell in person, so I don’t know what it looks like now. I’d like to go back some day though.