Magazine article Sunset

Drain Lake Powell?

Magazine article Sunset

Drain Lake Powell?

Article excerpt

It became very cool. We heard water falling from the roof of the cathedral into a plunge pool. A flood had built up a sandbar and in the sunlight it looked almost white. The plunge pool was a jade green. It was just absolutely one of the most incredibly beautiful places I have ever seen. We just started whispering." Joan Nevills-Staveley is recalling a place called Cathedral of the Desert, in Glen Canyon. The world she describes is no more, flooded by the reservoir created by Glen Canyon Dam. But the 186-mile-long lake is under scrutiny, thanks to a proposal by the Glen Canyon Institute to drain it and restore the Colorado River to its historic-and natural-channel.

Dave Wegner, vice president of the Glen Canyon Institute, is directing the preparation of an environmental assessment. "Glen Canyon was the biological heart of the Colorado River," he says. "We still have the opportunity to say, 'Whoa, let's rethink the logic we used in 1956.' ... to maybe take a visionary step backwards."

"i had fought very hard against the dam," says Nevills-Staveley, executive director of the Page Lake Powell Chamber of Commerce and daughter of the great river-runner Norman Nevills. "But the lake is here, the dam is here, and the people are here. You can't go back and reclaim a dream. …

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