Glen Canyon Dam

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Glen Canyon Dam

This extended essay will analyze the rhetoric of authors discussing the Glen Canyon Dam. These authors include: Jeff Rubin (The Place No One Knew), John McPhee (Encounters with the Archdruid), Russell Martin (A story that stands like a dam: Glen Canyon and the struggle for the soul of the West), and Jared Farmer (Glen Canyon dammed: inventing Lake Powell and the Canyon country). There are always two sides to an argument, one for one against.

All seven authors write of the Glen Canyon Dam, and the controversy surrounding the draining of Lake Powell. All of the authors do not actually want the dam to be taken down. Each author talks about what was destroyed by filling Glen Canyon up. They all recognize that Glen Canyon can not be saved, but another dam can be prevented from happening again somewhere else.

A pamphlet handed out at the visitor’s center of Glen Canyon Dam states:

“The mission of the Bureau of Reclamation is to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public” (Glen Canyon Dam)

This statement ensures the reader that the dam was built “for the people” doing this without stating any facts that prove the statement. This statement also does not state why the U.S. government built Glen Canyon dam.

This pamphlet wants to educate people as to the uses of Glen Canyon. The dangers and the fun that can be had on the lake that was made by the Glen Canyon Dam. “Some of the shoreline around Lake Powell is loose and can slip and fall”. (Glen canyon Dam) warning the public as to what to watch for. The pamphlet goes on to say; “Dangerous sections of Lake Powell’s shoreline are too numerous to mark and can appear quickly after a change in the water level or after rainy weather”. (Glen Canyon Dam) The author is saying that not every dangerous area can be marked. By writing this the author is ensuring safety against lawsuits.

In Glen Canyon Dammed: Inventing Lake Powell and the Canyon Country, Jared Farmer agrees with the draining of Lake Powell. Farmer goes on to write, “Consider the river that flows through Grand Canyon: it’s not the real thing. It’s the programmed discharge from Glen Canyon Dam”. (Farmer pg. XIII) In this statement Farmer is saying that he does agree with the dam coming down, although saying that people have their own opinions.

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