A new generation comes to terms with Lake Powell

  • Cover of "Glen Canyon Dammed"

  The loss of Glen Canyon to Lake Powell grieves many people deeply, including those too young to have known "the place no one knew." At 25, Provo, Utah, native Jared Farmer has known only Lake Powell, the prized destination of a new generation. Yet in his new book, Glen Canyon Dammed: Inventing Lake Powell and the Canyon Country, he, too, longs for the canyon below the water.


More personal than Russell Martin's A Story that Stands Like a Dam or Philip Fradkin's A River No More, and more historical than Katie Lee's All My Rivers Are Gone and Bruce Berger's There Was a River, Farmer's book is something new: an attempt at reconciliation.


Farmer regrets Lake Powell, but still appreciates those families whose annual vacation at Powell has become the most important week of their year.


He respects the rights of Page, Ariz., residents to their livelihoods, and he recognizes that draining the reservoir would simply "replace one group of mourners with another." The reservoir's mourners, he makes clear, would have the advantage of numbers: Some 3 million people visit Lake Powell in a year.


At the same time, Farmer does not shy away from condemning out-of-control partying on the lake and the ecological and archaeological destruction caused when water flooded seven miles of river canyon.


The cast of characters and events in Glen Canyon Dammed includes river runner Norm Nevills, dentist-turned-author Zane Grey, Mormon pioneers carving the Hole-in-the-Rock road to the world's most profitable gas station at Dangling Rope Marina; and the "discovery" of the Rainbow Bridge and its current status as lakeside attraction - trademark registered by concessionaire Aramark.


The story is fittingly surreal - as surreal as a huge blue lake in the middle of the Colorado Plateau.


Now working on a Ph.D. in history at Stanford University, Farmer wrote much of this book during the summer of 1996, when he was an intern at High Country News.





Doug Johnson studies geography at San Francisco State University.

High Country News Classifieds
  • 10 ACRES OF NEW MEXICO HIGH DESERT
    10 Acres of undeveloped high desert land in central NM, about 45 minutes from downtown Albuquerque. Mixed cedar and piñon pine cover. Some dirt roadways...
  • WATERSHED RESTORATION DIRECTOR
    $58k-$70k + benefits to oversee watershed restoration projects that fulfill our strategic goals across urban and rural areas within the bi-national Santa Cruz and San...
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    We are a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education, innovation, and collaboration....
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Come work alongside everyday Montanans to project our clean air, water, and build thriving communities! Competitive salary, health insurance, pension, generous vacation time and sabbatical....
  • CAMPAIGN MANAGER
    Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting, defending and restoring Oregon's high desert, seeks a Campaign Manager to works as...
  • HECHO DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE, COLUMBIA CASCADES
    The Regional Representative serves as PCTA's primary staff on the ground along the trail working closely with staff, volunteers, and nonprofit and agency partners. This...
  • FINANCE AND OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) seeks a full-time Finance and Operations Director to manage the internal functions of MLR and its nonprofit affiliates. Key areas...
  • DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION
    The Nature Conservancy is recruiting for a Director of Conservation. Provides strategic leadership and support for all of the Conservancy's conservation work in Arizona. The...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Amargosa Conservancy (AC), a conservation nonprofit dedicated to standing up for water and biodiversity in the Death Valley region, seeks an executive director to...
  • BIG BASIN SENIOR PROJECT PLANNER - CLIMATE ADAPTATION & RESILIENCE
    Parks California Big Basin Senior Project Planner - Climate Adaptation & Resilience ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND Parks California is a new organization working to ensure that our...
  • SCIENCE PROJECT MANAGER
    About Long Live the Kings (LLTK) Our mission is to restore wild salmon and steelhead and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1986,...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES GENERALIST
    Honor the Earth is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on identity. Indigenous people, people of color, Two-Spirit or LGBTQA+ people,...
  • NEW BOOK BY AWARD-WINNING WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST, BRUCE SMITH
    In a perilous place at the roof of the world, an orphaned mountain goat is rescued from certain death by a mysterious raven.This middle-grade novel,...
  • MOUNTAIN LOTS FOR SALE
    Multiple lots in gated community only 5 miles from Great Sand Dunes National Park. Seasonal flowing streams. Year round road maintenance.
  • RURAL ACREAGE OUTSIDE SILVER CITY, NM
    Country living just minutes from town! 20 acres with great views makes a perfect spot for your custom home. Nice oaks and juniper. Cassie Carver,...
  • A FIVE STAR FOREST SETTING WITH SECLUSION AND SEPARATENESS
    This home is for a discerning buyer in search of a forest setting of premier seclusion & separateness. Surrounded on all sides by USFS land...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, HIke the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • CAUCASIAN OVCHARKA PUPPIES
    Strong loyal companions. Ready to protect your family and property. Proven against wolves and grizzlies. Imported bloodlines. Well socialized.