preview

Alternatives to Building More Dams

Best Essays
I was intimidated. Actually, let me be honest, I feared a thrashing at the hands of the River God. Trembling muscles warned me to just shoulder my boat and walk. I couldn't. I traveled all the way from Pennsylvania to run these rivers, how could I back out now? I had to run Sunshine Falls...the largest rapid on the Royal Gorge section of the Arkansas River. When would I make it back to Colorado to run this river? I considered the the portage again; it's an impressive drop with no shame in walking. But what if they dam the Arkansas?

I had the pleasure of kayaking about fifteen miles of the Arkansas river, in Colorado, this summer. Flowing from its headwaters near Buena Vista, the Arkansas is a virgin river. Only a trickle during the winter, "The Ark," is reborn every spring with the life bearing waters of fresh mountain snow melt. The greening of river valleys throughout Colorado occurs during the month of June, and traveling from the east I realized how vital the snowmelt waters are to life in the western United States. Without water, something which we take for granted even in brutal summers, life in the west is a struggle.

Now the struggle for the Arkansas begins. Plans to dam the river below the Royal Gorge are pending. Devastating. I can't imagine the powerful currents of the Arkansas trapped behind an enormous wall of concrete. I find it hard to justify the damming of the Arkansas. It defines recreation for central Colorado.

Kayakers, rafters, and fishermen flock to the Ark for much of the summer. However, Colorado is a state with rapid population growth. People need water reservoirs and electricity from somewhere. Should the Arkansas be one of those sources?

I now realize the ma...

... middle of paper ...

...tility System." Hydro Review, 11, 80- 88.

IYER, R.I. (19X9) "Large Dams: The Right Perspective.' Economic and Political Weekly, 14, 107- 116.

PASCAL, A. (1988) Coal Information: 1988, Paris, France, pp. 510.

RADIGAN, Kyle. (1991) "Dam It All." Trout, Summer Issue, 28- 46.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, ECONOMICS AND STATISTICS ADMINISTRATION, AND BUREAU OE THE CENSUS. (1994) Eds. F'.A. London, H.A. Scarr and M.L. Turner, Statistical Abstract of the United States, Washington, D.C., pp. 750.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND BUREAU OF RECLAMATION. (1985) Hoover Dam. Washingto, D.C., pp. 56.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND BUREAU OF RECLAMATION. (1991! Summary Statistics. Washington, D C. , pp. 298.

WEATHERFORD, G.D. BROWN, F.L,. (1986) New Courses For The Colorado River, Albuquerque, N.M., pp. 25 3.
Get Access