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Glen Canyon Institute

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


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The Restoration of Glen Canyon

See the restoration of Glen Canyon in this photo essay published by the Glen Canyon Institute. After forty years of being hidden under the waves of Lake Powell, witness areas like Dark Canyon, Cataract Canyon, Davis Gulch, Cathedral in the Desert, and Stephens Arch come back to life. Photography by James Kay, Bill Wolverton, Rob Holt, Harry Newell, Nick Beard, Elias Butler, Chris Peterson.


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Rock Me On The Water

A Life On The Loose

"Renny Russell’s Rock Me on the Water is at its heart courageous. To return to the same power of nature that took his brother thirty years previous—to be with it, to confront it, to take solace in it, and to be inspired and healed by it—is remarkable in itself. His book is, as well, a testament to the evocative rhythms of the wilds. In this complicated dance, this profoundly personal journey, Renny Russell also gives us an amazingly spirited tour of one of the truly great landscapes of the American West and a keen understanding of its power to shape a life." -Robert Redford


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Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California (Paperback)

William deBuys Photography by Joan Myers

The Lower Colorado River, that portion between Hoover Dam and the Sea of Corts, lacks the scenic grandeur of the upper portions of the river. No single heroic figure like John Wesley Powell is associated with this stretch of the Colorado. There is no epic tragedy like Glen Canyon Dam. For what it lacks in grandeur, tragedy, and heroics, it makes up for in engineering errors, political intrigue, diplomatic blunders, and high levels of greed.


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The Very Hard Way

Bert Loper and the Colorado River

Tough as boot leather, stubborn and indomitable, Bert Loper was a drifting, uneducated, hard-rock miner, laborer and boatman who came to know and love the rivers of the Southwest like no-one else before or since. This splendid biography, which also tells the definitive history of river-running in the Southwest, takes us down into the canyons and whitewater and shows how they brought grace and meaning to the very hard life of a very hard man. - Richard Grant (American Nomads)


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Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California (Hardback)

William deBuys Photography by Joan Myers

The Lower Colorado River, that portion between Hoover Dam and the Sea of Corts, lacks the scenic grandeur of the upper portions of the river. No single heroic figure like John Wesley Powell is associated with this stretch of the Colorado. There is no epic tragedy like Glen Canyon Dam. For what it lacks in grandeur, tragedy, and heroics, it makes up for in engineering errors, political intrigue, diplomatic blunders, and high levels of greed.


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Voices of the American West

By Corinne Platt and Meredith Ogilby

This book is a fantastic compilation of environmentalists, authors, and activists who have made a difference in the protection of western lands and water. Featured biographies include Glen Canyon legend Katie Lee, 2010 David R. Brower Conservation Award recipient Terry Tempest Williams, and GCI Founder and President Rich Ingebretsen.


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Restoring Colorado River Ecosystems: A Troubled Sense of Immensity

By Robert Adler

Restoring Colorado River Ecosystems explores the many questions and challenges surrounding the issue of large-scale restoration of the Colorado River basin, and of large-scale restoration in general. Robert W. Adler evaluates the relationships among the laws, policies, and institutions governing use and management of the Colorado River for human benefit and those designed to protect and restore the river and its environment. He examines and critiques the often challenging interactions among law, science, economics, and politics within which restoration efforts must operate. Ultimately, he suggests that a broad concept of “restoration” is needed to navigate those uncertain waters, and to strike an appropriate balance between human and environmental needs.


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There Was a River

Essays on the Southwest

On October 7, 1962, Bruce Berger and three friends embarked on what may have been the last trip taken through the Colorado River's Glen Canyon before the floodgates were closed at Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell began to fill. After thirty years, one can grieve for what was lost and then, like Berger, take another look around. The Southwest Berger sees is an unusual, even odd, place, with inhabitants that are just as strange. In this collection of essays he introduces us to people and places that define a region and a way of life. We meet eccentric desert dwellers like Cactus Pete, who claimed to have mapped the mountains of Venus long before NASA penetrated its clouds. We chart the canals of Phoenix, which have created a Martian landscape out of an irrigation system dating back to the ancient Hohokam; stay at a "wigwam" motel in Holbrook, whose kitsch appeals even to Hopis; and dim our lights for the International Dark-Sky Association's efforts to keep night skies safe for astronomy. Focusing on the interaction of people with the environment, Berger reveals an original vision of the Southwest that encompasses both city and wilderness. In a concluding essay centering on the sale of his mother's estate in Phoenix, he concedes that "our intention to leave the desert alone has resulted, unwittingly, in loss after loss, simply by our being here." Sometimes there are losses—a canyon, a house—but Berger attunes us to the prodigies of change.


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Running Dry

A Journey From Source to Sea Down the Colorado River

Waterman, whose earlier books illuminate the Arctic, strikes an impressive balance between the personal and the political in chronicling his journey down the Colorado River. Quoting those who have traveled its depths before, such as John Wesley Powell and Wallace Stegner, he writes not only about the river’s now-dying power but also the extensive regulations put in place to control and possess it. And yet as much as this is about the river, Waterman also discusses individuals invested in its survival from biologists to the many watermen and -women whose livelihoods come from navigating its length. The misguided playground of Lake Powell proves to be an unsavory stopping point, but the author perseveres in his search for answers. From Vegas to Mexico, he finds waste and ruin and then turns a corner to discover the fruits of hard-won battles for bird sanctuaries and brilliant uses of drip irrigation. Through it all, he ruminates about the choices between life and death for humankind and rivers. An evocative and bold take on a river and what winning the West really means, Waterman’s book epitomizes the best of environmental writing. --Colleen Mondor


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River Republic

The Fall and Rise of America's Rivers

Daniel McCool not only chronicles the history of water development agencies in America and the way in which special interests have abused rather than preserved the country's rivers, he also narrates the second, brighter act in this ongoing story: the surging, grassroots movement to bring these rivers back to life and ensure they remain pristine for future generations.

The culmination of ten years of research and observation, McCool's book confirms the surprising news that America's rivers are indeed returning to a healthier, free-flowing condition. The politics of river restoration demonstrates how strong grassroots movements can challenge entrenched powers and win. Through passion and dedication, ordinary people are reclaiming the American landscape, forming a "river republic" of concerned citizens from all backgrounds and sectors of society. As McCool shows, the history, culture, and fate of America is tied to its rivers, and their restoration is a microcosm mirroring American beliefs, livelihoods, and an increasing awareness of what two hundred years of environmental degradation can do.


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Let the Mountains Talk, Let the Rivers Run (Hardback)

David Brower, with Steve Chapple

Glen Canyon Institute Board Member David Brower, former executive director of the Sierra Club and founder of the League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth, and Earth Island Institute, recalls his fifty controversial years of activism, outlines crucial contemporary battles, and passionately points the way to a green twenty-first century.


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Glen Canyon and a New Vision for the American West

This stunning new book, published by Mountaineers Books, was written by Backpacker magazine’s Southwest Editor, Annette McGivney, and features images by the celebrated landscape photographer, James Kay. Renowned environmentalist, Bill McKibben, wrote the forward. These gifted conservation advocates have been longtime supporters of GCI’s work, and we urge anyone who loves Glen Canyon to get this beautiful book!


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Dead Pool

Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the future of Water in the West

Where will the water come from to sustain the great desert cities of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix? In a provocative exploration of the past, present, and future of water in the West, James Lawrence Powell begins at Lake Powell, the vast reservoir that has become an emblem of this story. At present, Lake Powell is less than half full. Bathtub rings ten stories tall encircle its blue water; boat ramps and marinas lie stranded and useless. To refill it would require surplus water—but there is no surplus: burgeoning populations and thirsty crops consume every drop of the Colorado River. Add to this picture the looming effects of global warming and drought, and the scenario becomes bleaker still. Dead Pool, featuring rarely seen historical photographs, explains why America built the dam that made Lake Powell and others like it and then allowed its citizens to become dependent on their benefits, which were always temporary. Writing for a wide audience, Powell shows us exactly why an urgent threat during the first half of the twenty-first century will come not from the rising of the seas but from the falling of the reservoirs.


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The Colorado River through Glen Canyon Before Lake Powell

Historic Photo Journal, 1872 to 1964 of Glen Canyon of the Colorado River, Utah and Arizona. This beautiful canyon was drowned by the building of Glen Canyon Dam, January, 1963. This book takes us back in time to visit the canyon as if we were on the river with photos and quotations from more than 50 different contributors. It also includes a map of Lake Powell Reservoir marked as a guide for today's visitors to compare Lake Powell of today with the Glen Canyon of yesterday.


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The Ghosts of Dandy Crossing

"The Ghosts of Dandy Crossing, Katie Lee's newest book, takes place at one of the famous places that was drowned by Lake Powell, and at its heart is a love story between characters whose lives would irrevocably change. The book is a triple love story: the affair between Katie and the cowboy/miner; the characters that lived in Dandy Crossing before the river rose to drown it; and, the love of the beauty of Glen Canyon that would soon be drowned."



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A River No More: The Colorado River and the West

Philip L. Fradkin

A good natural and political history of the entire Colorado River drainage from the headwaters to the delta. Pulitzer Prize winning author's passion for the beauty of the river is combined with a profound understanding of the arid lands of the desert southwest, where man's need for water is a matter of life and death.

Temporarily Sold Out. 


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