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Glen Canyon NRA Officials Thinking Of Digging For Water


Dropping levels of Lake Powell are making it harder to get to and from Wahweap Marina. Friends of Lake Powell Photo.

Climate change, both short term or in the long run, can exact changes on the landscape. Native wildlife can vanish, non-native species can arrive, things we have come to know over a lifetime of visits can be transformed, if not made to disappear altogether.

How we react to these changes can have significant impacts, as well as be telling as to our overall stewardship of the land.

At Glen Canyon National Recreation Area the ongoing drought has revealed fascinating canyon-country landscapes that long have been inundated by Lake Powell. Cathedral in the Desert, said to be one of Edward Abbey's favorite haunts, has reappeared, drawing Abbeyites and the curious.

While there have been long-running efforts to drain the lake entirely, they have been staved off and today Lake Powell is one of the Southwest's premier boating areas. But in recent years the regional drought has lowered Lake Powell. While that has opened up some fascinating canyon landscapes that had been under water, the drought also has created some logistical problems for boaters.

For years, you see, boaters have used the so-called "Castle Rock Cut" to shorten a 12-mile trip when heading to and from the Wahweap Marina to such areas as Rainbow Bridge, Padre Bay, and Warm Creek Bay. However, that shortcut is only possible when Lake Powell is at an elevation of 3,620 feet; currently the lake is right around 3,600 feet. Boaters have not been able to use the cut since the 2003 season, and in recent years they've been asking the Park Service to deepen the cut.

So how can this problem be solved? Well, NRA officials are thinking of digging the cut even deeper than it is, a solution last resorted to in 1992 when it was deepened by about 8 feet. Before that, the cut was dug deeper back in the 1970s. The current proposal -- which doesn't yet have a price tag attached -- is to dig another 15 feet deeper along a half-mile-long section of the cut. This slice also would be about 80 feet wide.

But perhaps a more important question that should be considered is, "Should the cut be deepened?" Is this how we should respond to climate change, or long-term drought, by just digging a little deeper? Have we become so omnipotent in our environmental stewardship that we haven't been confronted by a problem we couldn't engineer a solution to?

For now, the Park Service is getting ready to prepare an environmental assessment that will analyze the potential impacts of digging the cut deeper on the area’s natural and cultural resources and the quality of visitors’ experience.

To help the agency prepare that EA, the public is being invited to submit suggestions on how the situation with the Castle Rock Cut can best be addressed and what issues and alternatives the EA should consider. You can forward your thoughts to the Park Service online at this site or by mailing them at Castle Rock Cut EA, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, P.O. Box 1507, Page, AZ, 86040.

Scoping comments must be received by December 4. Once the draft EA is prepared later this winter there will be another public comment period.


Yes Pete, that is correct. The "SUM" cost of their (Aramark's) overhead package remains the same, so not only Aramark, but even those who actually USE Lake Powell, will be the one's indirectly paying for the project.
As has already been said, "What's not to like?" Even Libertarians should approve of this one!

I'm not able to follow this. NPS will pay for the project. Not Aramark. True, NPS will utilize revenue generated by concession operations to pay for it. So Aramark funds it indirectly. But since the NPS skim off the top of Aramark's operation is the same whether the cut goes forward or not, how does it affect Aramark's bottom line? The "SUM" cost of their overhead package remains X whether NPS spends the money on other infrastructure maintenance, repair or upgrade, or, whether or not they spend it on the Castle Rock project, right?

Pete K.

This will be my last comment on the subject, as IMO it's miles off-topic and the topic in question is of far more interest to me. I will however make this final comment.

While Lone Hiker does indeed offer a few interesting ideas, he/she is dead wrong in making this comment:

"For you to believe for one instance that their entire customer base will not feel the sting for this project is simply not realistic."

The money has already been collected! It's part of the requirement for being awarded the concession to do exclusive business in the GCNRA, not an additional cost of doing business to be passed on to their (Aramark) customers in the form of higher prices, lower wages, reduced level of service, or anything else. The funds have already been collected and are discretionary, to be used by the NPS for any project benefiting those who use the GCNRA. That would be mostly boaters and fishermen like me!

Trying to keep it real. Enough said, at least by me.

Most of what the government does to us is on the shady side of unconstitutional, but this discussion is about the CRC. As the GCNRA is a national RECREATION area rather than a national park, recreation is the issue here. The cut has been lowered several times over the years. There are no artifacts that would be involved here. No time and waste of taxpayer dollars for an EA is needed. The safety of the people that pay to use this RECREATION area should be paramount. The savings in fuel, reduction of pollution, and time saved in responding to emergencies uplake demands that CRC must be open at the lowest levels of the lake.

Geez, if what you say is true, you'd sure think that a country as great as ours would have had at least one single Congress in those 97 some years decent enough to abolish that illegal 16th Amendment, now wouldn't you?

Tax revenues generated by this Act of Congress are to the Washington bureaucrats what nicotine is to many people.....a craving, an addiction to which they simply aren't willing or able to remove themselves from, no matter what the cost. Once the government began spending this revenue source prior to it actually being in the treasury, we were all done for. Now they simply can't and won't stop, short of a taxpayer revolt. Which isn't really a bad idea. They can't throw us all in jail, and since they don't have the stones to deport illegals, I feel safe as a citizen of this "great nation" in taking a stance against these types of injustices. As citizens, that's our responsibility, our duty. Or, you can choose to be a lamb heading to slaughter. The choice is all OURS.


I'm not going to turn this into a libertarian rant, but think your faith in politicians is most certainly misplaced. Congress is not an institution that is widely hailed for its virtues nor is much of what goes on in the city of Washington for that matter.

There are many other violations of the Constitution, way too numerous to mention, that have occurred in the history of the Republic besides the illegal and immoral 16th Amendment. The most currently egregious example of this habitual Constitutional disregard would be the costly and bloody wars being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan without an official declaration from your beloved saviors on Capitol Hill, as is explicitly mandated in the Constitution. Go ahead, read it. I promise you it's all in there.

There is in fact currently one lone member up on the Hill who agrees that the 16th Amendment is unconstitutional as well as many other actions, decrees and levies of the lawless proponents of the Warfare/Welfare state. His name is Ron Paul and he is also running for president as an avowed constitutionalist. You might want to check out his campaign and stated positions. It might be an eye opener.

Being a great country has nothing to do with the government. We've manage to succeed, so far, in spite of it, most certainly not because of it.

For clarification purposes, the studies I've surveyed make mention of 2 million boaters as an annual visitation estimate and does not directly correlate to 2 million vessels traversing the waterway. This I understand with all clarity. But in the "real world" of business, of which I possess extensive experience, any corporation doing business in more than one location bases their fees for products, services, etc. on the sum cost of doing business. The entity in question must account for the sum overhead package, no matter what nature they be, in the base prices that are charged to the consumer. As you all should be aware, the Aramark Corporation is a national service company. For you to believe for one instance that their entire customer base will not feel the sting for this project is simply not realistic. All costs of doing business will be passed throughout the operating network, whether it is an increase in employee health care rates, pay raises, transportation related fees (e.g. fuel rate increases, maintenance costs, building of distribution centers, tax rates on properties), increases costs of raw materials, handling and processing, or the above mentioned "slush fund" designed to benefit a SMALL portion of their service base.

Speaking of keeping it real........

O.K....whatever, but you still didn't answer the question. Here, I'll slightly re-phrase it:

In your opinion, has every government this country has had since at least 1913 been corrupt and run by a pack of "Thieving thugs?"

Geez, if what you say is true, you'd sure think that a country as great as ours would have had at least one single Congress in those 97 some years decent enough to abolish that illegal 16th Amendment, now wouldn't you?

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