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Glen Canyon Institute

Dedicated to the restoration of Glen Canyon and a free flowing Colorado River.

Glen Canyon Restoration

The Glen Canyon Restoration Campaign seeks to restore a free-flowing Colorado River through Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon, and promote sustainable management of the Colorado River.

Why Glen Canyon?


Glen Canyon is one of America’s — and the world’s — greatest natural wonders. John Wesley Powell, who named Glen Canyon during his 1869 survey, described it as a “land of beauty and glory.” Edward Abbey wrote that Glen Canyon was “a portion of earth’s original paradise.” Wallace Stegner judged the Glen to be “potentially a superb national park.”

In 1963, the diversion tunnels of Glen Canyon Dam were screwed shut causing the waters of the Colorado River to back up 186 miles through Glen Canyon. Built for political purposes, the dam was originally meant to provide a sustainable water supply to the arid Southwest, but has since undermined that very objective and has caused massive collateral damage across the Colorado River Basin. Before the dam, Glen Canyon was a wonderland of gorges, spires, cliffs, and grottoes; the biological heart of the Colorado River, with more than 79 species of plants, 189 species of birds, and 34 species of mammals; and a cultural treasure, with more than 3,000 ancient ruins.

After the dam, Glen Canyon became known as “the place no one knew” and America’s “lost national park.” Through its creation, Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam effectively destroyed the unique ecosystem of Glen and Grand Canyon, with negative consequences reaching all the way to the Colorado Delta downstream. We now have a chance to restore Glen Canyon and save the ecosystems of the Colorado River. Our proposals will not only provide environmental benefits to Glen and Grand Canyon, but will also help foster better water sustainability in the West.

Click here to learn more about the issues surrounding Glen Canyon and a free-flowing Colorado River.


Fill Mead First

The Colorado River Basin is facing a water supply crisis. Growing demand, relentless drought, and climate change are creating a water deficit of almost 1 million acre-feet a year in the Colorado River system. GCI’s Fill Mead First strategy proposes shifting most of the water stored in Lake Powell downstream to Lake Mead, which would save huge amounts of water annually, provide greater health to the ecosystem of the Grand Canyon, and significantly restore Glen Canyon.

Click here to read more about our Fill Mead First proposal


Grand Canyon

The construction of Glen Canyon Dam has caused untold damage to one of America's most iconic national parks – The Grand Canyon. For thousands of years, the ecosystem of the Grand Canyon has come to rely on the warm, sediment-laden water of the Colorado River. The drastic reduction in sediment and the release of cold, clear water from Glen Canyon Dam has severely damaged the Grand Canyon ecosystem and endangered countless native fish and wildlife species.

Click here to read more about Grand Canyon issues

Cathedral 1

Cathedral in the Desert

Cathedral in the Desert is one of the world's most stunning monuments and is located in the heart of the now buried Glen Canyon. Named for its cathedral-like qualities, Cathedral in the Desert is an amazing sandstone amphitheater with high-reaching spires, cliffs, and a beautiful 60-foot waterfall.

Click here to learn more about Cathedral in the Desert


Water Conservation

Water conservation is the most cost-effective and environmentally sound way to reduce our demand for water. Conserving water stretches our supplies farther and allows us to do more while using less. Though large-scale conservation efforts are a must, there are many things that you can do from your own home to use less water.

Click here to read more about Water Conservation in the West