Not many people know of the used-to-be 150-mile excursion that the Glen Canyon had to offer. Not many people know how to sail a raft down a river for a week. Not many people know how to interact with nature and the animals that come with it. We seem to come from a world that is dependent on time and consumed in money. Edward Abbey is what you would call an extreme environmentalist. He talks about how it was an environmental disaster to place a dam in which to create Lake Powell, a reservoir formed on the border of Utah and Arizona.
He is one of the few that have actually seen the way Glen Canyon was before they changed it into a reservoir. Today, that lake is used by over a million people, and is one of the biggest recreation hot spots in the western United States. First of all, Edward Abbey admits to being a certain bias and that he is a, butterfly chaser, googley eyed bleeding heart and wild conservative. So, in other words he is intending this article to be read by environmental activist who will support his opinion and the action that he is trying to take.
Edward Abbey worked as a seasonal park ranger for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area back in 1967, so of course he would be against any environmental action taken to change the canyon. He stated that before the damnation of the canyon that there were streams, waterfalls, plunge pools, and plenty of wildlife. Now you can only find that on a small scale and that these things have been lost, pushed out, drowned, or buried under mud. Abbey highlighted quite a few points; one of them that interested me the most was his description, of the difference between the present reservoir, and the original Glen Canyon.
He stated that it was the difference between life and death. Glen Canyon was alive. Lake Powell is a graveyard. He really seems to be going out on a limb in saying this extreme of a statement. I think that he is wrong in saying that. I feel that he is only looking at one side of the story. I would say the opposite, but for a rhetorical analysis proposes only, I will come from his point of view in researching that he came to that conclusion under the assumption that the wildlife and nature was more alive then the life outside of the dam. Lake Powell is a graveyard in such that there is nothing natural about it.
The rocks are pretty and the water is blue. Abbey talks of a term called bathtub ring, it is left on the canyon walls, after each drawdown of the water level. The park rangers in Glen Canyon consider it to be not of great importance, and that is one of the only illusions that you look at upon a natural lake. To some people seeing that effect is more then they have seen or may ever see in their life when it comes to nature. People come from places where there isnt a lot of wildlife around them. The closest they get seeing that might just be from a book or a video they saw in school.
So what if they dump a ton of striped bass and rainbow trout into the lake every year. One of those fishes could be the first one ever caught by a boy who is having a weekend with his father. The symbol of that fish and what it represents to the bonding between two people may be a lot more then what I think Abbey has analysed. I think Abbey brought up a very controversial/argumentative point in his article. He stated that if Rainbow Bridge is worth seeing at all, then by God it should be easily, readily, immediately available to everybody with the money to buy a big power boat.
Before the Dam was put up to create Lake Powell, Rainbow Bridge was only accessible by walking six miles through the thickets of cottonwood trees, semi-tropical hanging orchids, and ivy, with swarms of insects and birdlife to get there. He seems to argue the wheelchair ethos of the wealthy, upper-middle class American slob. Well, excuse the people who were born paralyzed from the waist down, and would like to experience the forces nature in its natural state of beauty and grace. He seems to generalize the typical population of people who visit Lake Powell on an unscientific basis, upper-middle class American slobs.
So does that mean that a lower class family doesnt have the money to do such recreational activity? And that we are slobs because we like to view nature in its own environment? One last point in which should be heard is that, Edward Abbey states that now that the river is closed up people cannot get a raft, spend about forty dollars, give up 7-10 days, and rely only on the goodness of fresh catfish just to float down a river. In todays society people dont have time. We would rather spend the hundreds of dollars to get a nice speedboat, buy real food, and only take maybe the weekend to enjoy the great outdoors.
We enjoy the freshness of a shower everyday, going to the bathroom with flushable device, eating food with the right bit of garlic taste, in other words the comfort of home. Even if they did take down the dam and offer such rafting trips, do you honestly think a person could leave their cell phone at home? In conclusion, I do think that Edward Abbey made a great attempt at persuading the audience. He had great facts and experience to back up what he was arguing. I did like the fact that even though he was against the damnation he mentions that has been a good source of energy.
But he argues, of course, that as the world becomes more technically advanced that we should use alternate methods of power generation, such as solar. In that, as a society we will learn to adapt to different resources and basic needs in which the demands for electrical power begins to diminish. We can shut down the Glen Canyon power plant, open the tunnels, drain the reservoir, and as he states it The wilderness will again belong to God, the people and the wild things that call it home.
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