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June 2005

Preserving Paradise: Glen Canyon

Drought has brought the canyon back. Would national park status keep it that way?

©Larry Carver
The leaky tub: drought has lowered Lake Powell’s water level by as much as 70 percent–and even a few very wet seasons wouldn’t refill it.

There’s hope for such a dramatic policy decision even under the current administration, Haskell says, because the dam "doesn’t make economic sense any longer." Haskell believes the best ammunition is the high price Western cities are paying to maintain a half-full Lake Powell.

Both Haskell and Peterson contend it would be far more economical to keep Powell’s water downstream in Lake Mead (currently almost half empty) or underground in existing aquifers–a practice becoming more common in Arizona and Nevada. And although Haskell remains skeptical, Peterson also believes that a national park designation would help promote a more efficient water policy and restore Glen Canyon by government mandate rather than by accident.

"We’re talking about more than a million acres here, a huge blank spot on the map," says Peterson. "How can we pass up the chance to protect it?"

For more info about GCI’s campaign and guided trips: (801) 363-4450;

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