I am going to present you with both sides of Lake Powell. The tourist info side, and the environmentalist side. There is a pretty prevelent theme with the environmentalists, that the Lake should be drained. While normally I side with the environmentalists on issues, let me say that draining Lake Powell now is pointless. The damage was done 30 years ago, the canyons Lake Powell is in will NOT be pretty after the Lake is drained, we'd just have a HUGE eyesore! That's my opionion folks! I'll go on now to the professional persons arguments.
Major John Wesley Powell, ( 1834 - 1902 )
Major John Wesley Powell is credited with being the first man to run the Colorado River through the full length of the Grand Canyon and explore its unknown regions. He successfully completed this trip in 1869. The adventure began in Green River Utah on May 24, 1869 and ended at Grand Cliffs Wash on August 29th. 1869. Up until this time, the area that is now Lake Powell, and the Grand Canyon was uncharted territory. Blank areas on a map. Major Powell tried to repeat the expedition again in 1871, but was forced to abandon the attempt. The journal from his first expedition, "The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons" , provides some very interesting reading.
On 15 October 1956 President Dwight D. Eisenhower pushed a button at his White House desk, initiating the blast that started construction of the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona. The Dam was compleated in 1963, at a cost of $70 million dollars. To construct the Dam they used 10 million tonsof concrete. And so, one more Dam on the Colorado River was compleated. (Edward Abbey's Monkey Wrench Gang made their first appearance here, sabotaging bulldozers and simulating huge cracks in the dam at the opening ceremonies)
The dammed water of Lake Powell backed up the flows of the Colorado (186 miles) and San Juan rivers (72 miles) creating 1,960 miles of shoreline (more than the entire west coast line of the Pacific!). It also destroyed prehistoric, historic, and religious sites of value. The Navajo lost at least two sacred places. The confluence of the San Juan and the Colorado was ameeting place where two Navajo deities, embodied in these rivers, met to create water children of the cloud and rain people. Nearby stood Rainbow Bridge, an arch with a span of 278 feet. Said to be male and female holy beings who created clouds, rainbows, and moisture, this site, like the confluence, is no longer used for worship. The waters of Lake Powell are eroding the foot of the rainbow while crowds of pleasure seekers land at the dock facilities nearby, making public this place of privacy.
Historic sites have disappeared including the Crossing of the Fathers, used by Escalante and Dominquez in 1776; the fording place on the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail created by the Mormons in 1880; gold mining sites of the 1880s, 1890s, and early 1900s; and rock art panels and homes of the Anasazi. Even the glen in which John Wesley Powell stood in awe and for which the canyon and dam took its name, is covered beneath 500 feet of water.
Written by: Robert S. McPherson
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Lake Powell can also be seen from the ferry ($9 per car) which links Hwy-276 between Halls Crossing and Bullfrog marinas two-thirds of the way up-lake; from here the Burr Trail heads across the Waterpocket Fold to the town of Boulder. The Ferry's summer hours are: every odd hour from 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. from Halls Crossing, and every even hour starting at 8:00 A.M. and ending at 6:00 P.M. at Bullfrog.