The Damnation Of A Canyon

Not many people know of the used-to-be 150-mile excursion that the Glen Canyon had to offer. Not many people know how to sail a raft down a river for a week. Glen Canyon was a grand thing; its grandeur is now buried with the silt of the Glen Canyon Dam. Glen Canyon is now filled with water, and shares water with Lake Powell. Glen Canyon dam is responsible for this, as it broke through Glen Canyon’s defenses in 1963. It took five years for Glen to reach its maximum depth of 912 feet.

Glen Canyon Dam is currently one of the largest concrete dams in existence; creating Glen Canyon Lake and Glen Canyon Power Plant, Glen has become a household name. Glen Canyon was once known for its beauty and size. From 1962-1963 Glen’s depth had more than tripled as water started to slowly fill it up. When Glen reached its maximum pool depth in 1963, it had become flooded with 2 million acre feet of water over an average elevation of 3,746 ft.

And thus came flooding into all those who called Glen Canyon home—the residents were forced to leave their homes and move elsewhere until the shallow pools could bring life back into what was now known as “water ruins. ” These ruins were actually considered to be a new invention! Glen Canyon’s dammed life brought forth the idea of “inverted ruins”—namely, Glen Canyon had become flooded with water, therefore it became ruined. Glen underwent this process because of its national park status—Lake Powell was held in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area by Glen Canyon National Recreational Area.

If Glen enjoyed that honor today, however, it would have probably been held by Glen Canyon National Park. Glen Canyon is now filled with scars from its death—its grand canyons are now hidden under water and submerged landforms appear among its depths. The boating community has shifted away from the original ideas of rafting down rivers for an entire week to simply enjoying a days worth of fishing and skiing. Glen is now a spot for hot air ballooning, water polo, and other aquatic sports.

Glen Canyon lost its sole purpose when it was flooded—it became nothing but another water park. Glen Canyon Dam has since become such an iconic object, as well as Glen Canyon itself with Lake Powell at the top of the list; Glen stands as an ignored remnant of what substantially used to be there. Glen’s death came from too much love for irrigation; Glen started with 2 million acre feet (beneficial use) and ended up with 4 million (non-beneficial use).

Glen meant too much to those who lived on the land near it to let it go without a fight—but Glen was eventually lost to the Glen Canyon Dam. Glen is now gone forever, and Glen lives on as a memory in those who cherish what Glen had stood for. Glen may be gone, but it will always live on in the memories of those who saw it before its death—after all, Glen was built out of love for nature more than anything else. Glen is still Standing-It just happens to be under water at this point.

Glen’s water ruins are considered “new” inventions because they brought attention to inverted ways that people used land – not knowing whether it should be designated as open space or developed space; city life versus countryside life; ruin verses non-ruin areas; etc… Glen Canyon Dam has impacted several lives in more than one way! Glen’s remains are thousands of feet below Glen Canyon Dam. Glen’s canyon walls are now the dam itself, and Glen is truly gone forever.

Glen Canyon was a continuous narrow canyon, full of rapids and riffles. Glen Canyon Dam turns Glen Canyon into “one vast lake whose waters—if legend can be believed—flow not from the mountains but from hell itself” (Abbey 1). Abbey also stated that Glen Canyon Dam might be manmade compared to a natural dam, but it is still a tragedy. Glen Canyon used to have a serene beauty with its narrow canyons, high cliffs, and river running through it. Glen could only be reached by water or rough jeep tracks because there was no road around it. The reservoir holds enough water to drown all state of Utah under about two hundred feet of water. Since the creation of this new lake, dubbed Lake Powell, Glen probably looks more like a giant bathtub than anything else.

Glen was changed into “Lake Glen Canyon, an evil-looking body of water” (Abbey 1). The only way to get across Glen Canyon now is by boat or helicopter because it’s not possible to drive around Glen anymore due to the lake that flooded it. The dam also kills much wildlife in the area that lives on top of cliffs and canyons, which then fall into the lake when they are killed. These animals include mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks, ringtails , etc.(Abbey 2)

One thing Abbey argues for throughout his article is how Glen Canyon Dam drowns Glen Canyon out making Glen an empty and lifeless place. Abbey believes Glen can never be recovered, and Glen will forever remain a place where many fish have been killed due to the creation of Lake Powell, which was built so humans could have more water for all our needs. Glen also used to house a lot of wildlife because it had its own ecosystem with waterfalls, natural pools, cliffs , etc. Glen Canyon Dam drowns Glen out to make Glen an empty lifeless place.

“He’s trying to deprive us of one of the most beautiful boating lakes in America,” said one prodam man from Los Angeles who just happened to be in town that week—I’m not making this up—and who offered himself as a speaker at the public hearings on the resolution. An elderly lady from Glen Canyon City rose to reply. “Glen Canyon is a tomb,” she said in a trembling voice. “It’s a beautiful tomb, but a tomb.”(Abbey 1)

Abbey also talks about how Glen has been diminished due to the dam being built and the lake being made out of Glen. He says that Glen was once one of the most beautiful boating lakes in America and now it is turned into something worse than Disneyland because at least there you can get away from people if you want to (not like Glen). Glen was transformed into Lake Powell which completely drowned out Glen. The only way across Glen Canyon was by boat or helicopter; this made Glen more isolated than ever before with no roads around Glen, Glen becoming inaccessible. Glen Canyon Dam drowns out Glen to make Glen an empty lifeless place.

“It’s like Disneyland,” he said.”You pay your money at the gate and they escort you in to show you all the fun rides—see the pretty rocks, watch the little waterfalls, all that sort of crap—and when you’ve seen it all, there’s nothing much else to do but go home again. I mean, Glen Canyon used to be a hell of a lot more interesting than Disneyland.”(Abbey 1)

The best way I can explain Abbey’s article is through his own words; “All this was drowned by electricity” (Abbey 2). This sentence really stood out for me because Abbey really is trying to tell people all Glen is now. All Glen used to be is no longer present because Glen was drowned by Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam. Glen is a place where there was once beauty, serenity , and wildlife; but with the building of Glen Canyon Dam and Glen being flooded it became a completely different place than what it once was known as.

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