In the opening pages of his wildly popular novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey as much
as promised that he would write a story about freeing Glen Canyon on the Colorado River.
Since the publication of that novel in 1975, a unanimity of environmentalists, thousands
of Colorado River rafters, ecologists, the Sierra Club, and even the US Park Service have
called for the removal of Glen Canyon Dam to liberate 150 miles of Glen Canyon and restore
the river as it flows through Grand Canyon National Park below the dam.
Now, imagine that an unlikely band of eco-terrorists, including
physicists, a lawyer, a pro-environment industrialist and a ne'er-do-well American Indian,
all fed up with Washington, decide to take matters into their own hands...
This is a story about a place -- a very special place that was lost before the memory
of most of us; Glen Canyon on the Colorado River, It has been described, in memoriam, as
The Place No One Knew, and many are those now alive who could have seen it but did not,
whether by conscious choice, inattention, or ignorance. it is for them, and for those born
too late, that this tale is written.
Three old friends have long shared a memory of their float trip trough Glen Canyon.
They want nothing more than to see the free flowing river restored, and they are willing
to risk their comfortable and secure lives to do so. But to bring back the beautiful
canyon and its 186 miles of the Colorado River they must deal with the colossal dam that
has impounded Powell Reservoir since 1963. Somehow the river will have to be diverted
around the ten million tons of concrete -- and the twenty-seven million acre feet of water
behind the dam will have o be sent on its way back to the Pacific Ocean -- slowly. They
find a way to do it, but things don't go as planned.
In 1983, with Powell Reservoir nearly full, late spring rains began to fall throughout
most of the 108,000 square miles in the upper Colorado River basin. The rains continued
into June when the weather turned unusually warm, quickly releasing the heavy snowpack in
the mountain ranges ringing the basin. The runoff could not be contained in the reservoir
and the resulting flood badly damaged the spillways at Glen Canyon Dam. The damage was
repaired, but questions remain whether Nature may, once again, seriously challenge the
huge obstruction in Her river canyon.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be used to support the
designation of the proposed 5.7-million-acre Redrock Wilderness in southern Utah. Creation
of the wilderness will ensure that the Glen Canyon tragedy will never be repeated in this
last unspoiled are of the contiguous United States.
in the Denver Post.
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