Lake Powell Rant

Lake Powell is a misnomer.

The word “lake” suggests something natural, a low point in the land where water collected.  Ducks swim, fish leap, reeds grow on the sides.  Perhaps trees grow on the shore.

Lake Powell is a reservoir.  Previous to the monstrous Glen Canyon Dam, the Colorado River flowed uninhibited through Glen Canyon on through the Grand Canyon.  Now much of Glen Canyon is submerged under the almost stagnant waters.  Tourists in houseboats distribute rafts of trash over wonders they could scarcely comprehend.

Along with the Anasazi ruins, the town of Hite was submerged.  To add insult to injury, the Hite Marina, named after the soggy village, is now rarely used due to the low water levels.

Perhaps most offensive of all, they named the reservoir after the one armed explorer, John Wesley Powell, who explored the river gorge now covered by the reservoir.  More insulting than naming a shopping mall after whatever was cut down to make room, one has to wonder what they were thinking when they chose a name.

Whether the Reservoir is and was truly necessary is yet to be seen.  The water and power it provides will hopefully become less essential as we move towards more efficient management of resources.  As silt fills the reservoir, and the zebra and quagga muscles clog the machinery, alternatives must be found.  But as long as the Reservoir remains, we can be certain people will be dragged around by speedboats, most too young to remember what used to be.  A canyon was sacrificed for water and power, and most who benefit are unaware.

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