Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lake Powell

(Twenty fathoms under in a milky green light the spectral cabins, the skeleton cottonwoods, the ghostly gas pumps of Hite, Utah, glow through the underwater mist, outlined and edges softened by the cumulative blur of slowly settling silt.  Hite has been submerged by Lake Powell for many years now, but Smith will not grant recognition to alien powers.)
– Edward Abbey, “The Monkey Wrench Gang”.

In 1966, the Glen Canyon Dam was finished and Lake Powell was born.  There’s been a lot of controversy over the flooding of Glen Canyon, Edward Abbey made his feelings clear in 1975 in the book “The Monkey Wrench Gang”;  their ultimate goal is to blow up the Glen Canyon Dam.  And there are still environmental groups advocating draining the lake and restoring Glen Canyon.

Personally, I don’t know how I would have felt about the destruction of such a beautiful area back in the 60’s when they were building the dam.  At the time I wasn’t even old enough to be in grade school, and I was living a couple thousand miles away.

But now I think fighting to drain the lake is a waste of energy. 

First off, it isn’t going to happen.  We need the water and electricity it provides too much. 

Second, it’s become a part of life in Utah.  I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t spend a decent amount of time down there camping, fishing, boating and overall recreating.  It’s a beautiful lake, with amazing scenery everywhere you go.

And finally, after 46 years of settling silt from the the rivers that flow into it, even if you did drain the lake, it would not be the same.  It would take decades, if not centuries, before it was even close to what it was before.


Lisa Shafer said...

The lake was prettier, though, back when it was shallower. Boating through those huge slickrock canyons was amazing. But they didn't look so amazing by the late 80s because the water was so high.

eileeninmd said...

The lake is pretty and the surrounding scenery is beautiful. The house-boating looks like fun. Wonderful photos.

Karen S. said...

I'm so happy that lakes were invented!

Max Sartin said...

Karen - And Lake Powell is one of the few lakes in Utah that isn't either too salty or too cold to swim in. Actually, around this time of year it's almost as warm as bath water.

joanne said...

Lake Powell is such a lovely vacation spot....thanx for the history lesson....always wonderful to learn....

Rita said...

I know of at least three towns that suffered the same fate here in Missouri. Two when Bull Shoals Dam and Lake was built in 1951.

And one when Bagnell Dam created the Lake of the Ozark's in 1931.

Both were created as part of flood control here. The recreational benefits were secondary. I can't imagine not having either lake in our state. And, without them we might have lost even more towns to flooding.

I agree with you, after all these years it should no longer be an issue.

Max Sartin said...

Yeah, recreation wasn't the reason Lake Powell was created either. Mostly for the water reserves, and electricity second. But it has become a huge recreation area in Utah.

Tess said...

The lake is beautiful, and you have some great photos.