Friday, May 20, 2016

2016: A Grand 50th in My 80th

Well, so, my 80th year seems like one of those special times to reflect and project. This year, moreover, is the 50th anniversary of immensely significant events in the Grand Canyon’s political history, and in my involvement with it, as a place for exploration and adventure and as a locus of learning about and attempting to influence the American political landscape. 
  1966. A splendid year. For me; for the Grand Canyon. A year of beginnings, of promise.
  2016. A year for remembering, yes, but also with promise. The Canyon is asking more of us.

        ======    THE DAMS
Fifty years ago, building two hydroelectric dams in the Grand Canyon, the major step in its industrialization, was a cresting dream for many in the West and the U.S. From the beginning of the XXth century, schemes and plans and research had been aimed at emplacing concrete plugs & holes in stairsteps along the Colorado River to extract every possible kilowatt. One dreamer’s map:

The federal government, through the Bureau of Reclamation, was ready by the end of World War II to proceed. Rivalry over control of the Colorado’s waterflows plus complications in Reclamation’s legal arrangements stalled construction for 20 years. By the mid-1960’s, when the dams’ true believers were again ready, the U.S. had changed, politically and in our burgeoning understanding that a healthy people and a healthy economy require a healthy environment to flourish.