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“The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail.” – John Wesley Powell

Our friends at American Rivers are dedicated to conserving, protecting, and cleaning the rivers of America. The organization recently published an article concerning the threats currently affecting the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon and the opportunities that we have to take action.


Photo by James Q. Martin

The Grand Canyon is one of the most well recognized and sought-after destinations in the world. This is both good and bad. It’s good in that it is a highly valued and greatly treasured destination that has inspired and continues to inspire millions of lives. Some believe it to be a sacred landscape. However it’s also a vulnerable place. According to American Rivers there are currently three main threats to the Grand Canyon:

1. Grand Canyon Escalade

A bill has been proposed to begin building a tramway from the east rim to the bottom of the canyon where the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers meet. This project could damage the canyon as well as disturb the sanctity of this place to the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Havasupai, and other native tribes in the canyon.

2. Uranium Mining

Inactive mines in the north and south expose the canyon to radioactive contamination. There are currently proposals requesting not only to reactivate these closed mines but also expand the active mines.

3. Development of Tusayan

The town of Tusayan, AZ is located just south of the Grand Canyon with a population of roughly 570 people. There are strong efforts being made to expand the town to include a resort, spa, and over 2,200 new homes. This would require serious withdrawals from the area’s aquifer in an area already affected by drought.

American Rivers believes each threat facing this wonderful place has a ‘critical decision point’. They invite us to take action against these threats. Here is what we can do:

To learn more about American Rivers and the actions you can take in protecting our nation’s waters, visit their website at Join the movement and follow American Rivers on Facebook.

Scroll below to view the award-winning short film by Forest Woodward and Brendan Leonard that explores the story of a father and son, and the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

#WeAreGrand #WeAreRivers

Featured photo by James Q. Martin

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