Tom Wolf should check a few facts

  Dear HCN,


Please may I quibble over a couple of minor points in Tom Wolf's informative essay about Floyd Dominy and Morrow Point Dam (HCN, 10/26/98). Morrow Point is indeed an elegant engineering marvel, and you have to admire the artful audacity of its designers, but the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a marvel, too, a world-class physiographic marvel designed by God and Mother Nature. I walked and crisscrossed its awesome 50-mile length before its upstream third was inundated by the three huge dams. Dammed elegance aside, Morrow Point's graceful arch does not "belly out" into Blue Mesa Reservoir. Tut, tut. Said reservoir is impounded by the utilitarian, if inelegant, rock and earthen plug of Blue Mesa Dam near the head of the canyon.


Second, Wolf mentioned that he and his students visited Morrow Point Dam "to see where the Colorado Front Range's water comes from," but Morrow Point was conceived only to generate power and raise revenue from its production. It is a "cash register dam" not designed for the transmountain diversion of water. Blue Mesa and Crystal dams in the Black Canyon and Flaming Gorge Dam in Utah also are "cash register dams," built primarily to generate power, though their combined storage also helps fulfill downstream water commitments. Crystal has minimal storage capacity. Last I heard, its turbines provide peaking power for times of high energy demand. Though Gunnison River water is coveted by various east-slope urban venues, not one drop has yet been diverted out of the Gunnison River Basin.





Wallace Hansen


Lakewood, Colorado





Wallace Hansen is the author of The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, in Depth; Dinosaur's Restless Rivers and Craggy Canyon Walls; and Geology of the Flaming Gorge Area.





High Country News Classifieds
  • MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR
    Job Announcement: Membership Director Job Title: Membership Director Supervisor: Executive Director Classification: Full-time exempt Location: Boise, ID Job Overview Winter Wildlands Alliance is seeking a...
  • IMPROVED LOT
    Private road, hillside, views. Well, pad, septic, 99 sq.ft. hut. Dryland permaculture orchard. Wildlife. San Diego--long growing season
  • STEWARDSHIP SPECIALIST
    San Isabel Land Protection Trust seeks experienced person to manage its 133 conservation easements in south-central Colorado.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Executive Director Position Announcement POSITION TITLE: Executive Director ORGANIZATION: Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument REPORTING TO: Board of Directors LOCATION: Ashland, OR POSTING CLOSES: March...
  • ARIZONA CONSERVATION CORPS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Arizona Conservation Corps is seeking a Program Director in Flagstaff or Tucson
  • UNIQUE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
    Profitable off-the-grid business located 2 miles from Glacier National Park. Owner has 6 years operating experience. Seeking investor or partner for business expansion and enhancement....
  • NEW MEXICO PROPERTY - SILVER CITY
    20 acres, $80,000. Owner financing, well, driveway, fencing possible, very private, sensible covenants, broker owned. Contact - 575-534-7955 or [email protected]
  • GRANT WRITER
    "We all love this place we call Montana. We believe that land and water and air are not ours to despoil, but ours to steward...
  • COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR
    ABOUT US: "This thriving citizens organization exemplifies the ideal of public involvement in public processes." - Billings Gazette At Northern Plains, we believe that true...
  • ST. LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN THE OUTDOOR PROGRAM
    To view the complete position description please visit: http://employment.stlawu.edu. St. Lawrence University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
  • TRAIL CREW & ASSISTANT TRAIL CREW LEADERS
    SEEKING TALENTED TRAIL WORK LEADERS The Pacific Crest Trail Association, headquartered in Sacramento, California is dedicated to protecting, preserving and promoting the Pacific Crest National...
  • SEASONAL SAN JUAN RANGERS
    Seeking experienced crew members to patrol Colorado's most iconic mountain wilderness.
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • DEVELOPMENT AND ADVOCACY DIRECTOR
    Provide stewardship and protection for the Great Burn wildlands along the Montana-Idaho stateline. This position is based in Missoula, MT, where a river runs through...
  • LISA MACKEY PHOTOGRAPHY
    Fine Art Gicle Printing. Photo papers, fine art papers, canvas. Widths up to 44". Art printing by an artist.
  • WILDERNESS CONSERVATION CORPS - OREGON
    The Siskiyou Mountain Club is hiring interns for the 2020 Field Season. Interns utilize non-mechanized tools to complete trail restoration and maintenance while gaining job...
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.