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Hi Friends of the Colorado River!
Colorado River Shut Down! The last few weeks, we’ve had wacky weather in the Southwest U.S. This week, we’ve had wacky politics in Washington D.C. that have impacted the Colorado River. When the government shut down the National Park Service, many of the Park-related boating facilities were also shut down, marooning boaters in the Grand Canyon and elsewhere. News reports across the U.S. have highlighted the vast lost revenues from hotels, restaurants, outfitters, and guide services in the nation’s parks, including in the Grand Canyon area. Some wannabe rafters made a bit of a news item when they temporarily rallied at the Lee’s Ferry put-in, getting attention from the police and Park Service. Afterwards, this facebook page popped up, “NPS: ALLOW LEE’S FERRY BOATERS TO FLOAT GRAND CANYON!” But, the Park Service has not opened up the area yet. Newspapers have covered the river shut-down, focusing on families that invested thousands of dollars and are now high and dry waiting for the government to open back up. Here’s a Washington Post article highlighting the issue, and here in the New York Times.
Latino Students Raft The Grand Canyon! With all of the negative energy in Washington D.C., it was great last week to hear about a different and more wonderful journey. A few weeks ago, the latino river-protection organization, Nuestro Rio, sponsored a group of high school students on a raft trip down the Grand Canyon, and afterwards the students traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby members of congress to protect the Colorado River. The adventure caught the attention of the media during the raft trip and in D.C. NBC Latino covered the story here in depth, including a great video (really, you should watch the video — it’s excellent!) of the students out on the river. Later in D.C., the group met with staff members from the Dept of Interior, including Secretary Sally Jewell, and with members of congress from their home states. Here’s a short audio version of the story from Colorado River Public Media.
Glen Canyon Re-Emerges! As the levels in Lake Powell have fallen over the past 2 years, Glen Canyon is re-emerging from underneath the floodwaters. The High Country News profiled this editorial last week by Eric Balken which describes the beauty and splendor of the “Cathedral in the Desert,” one of the geologic structures submerged by Lake Powell. In addition, Balken describes how flash floods have washed away sediment revealing the gulches and creeks flowing into Lake Powell. Rains of the past few weeks have caused Lake Powell to rise 5 feet, but the overall trend appears to be continuing downward as long-term drought plagues the Southwest U.S. Perhaps the drought will continue and more of Glen Canyon will emerge; perhaps it will rain and flood the thing again — no one can predict the future. But for now, if you get the chance, go take a look at the Place No One Knew.
Stay tuned for more Colorado River updates!