Friday, September 6, 2002
Up the River to Lake Powell
Team South leaves Kaibab National Forest and drives along the base of Vermillion Cliffs to Lees Ferry on the Colorado River. They stop at Hatch River Expeditions for s short program on river issues then continue to the boat ramp and a tour of the historic Lonely Dell ranch. A short boat ride upriver will take them to the base of Glen Canyon Dam where they will be met by Bureau of Reclamation personnel.
Congress authorized the dam in 1956 and it was completed in 1966. Concrete for the arch dam and powerplant was poured around the clock for more than three years. The dam's crest is 1,560 feet long. It lies 710 feet above bedrock and 583 feet above the original river channel. At its full-pool elevation of 3,700 feet, the lake measures 560 feet deep at the dam.
Lake Powell has been controversial since its creation. Boaters and sport fishermen love it, local economies depend on the tourism industry, and the region relies heavily on the water and on the hydropower. But environmentalists and archeologists decry the destruction of unrecoverable natural and cultural resources, and the degradation of downstream waters, which affects wildlife all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. During the next few days members of Team South will be exposed to the complexities which lie beneath the calm waters of Lake Powell.