Keep our rivers, clean, wild, and free

Kathy Etling | Grand Canyon below Glen Canyon Dam

My husband and I have floated and fished many rivers, small Missouri streams like the Huzzah, Courtois and Meramec, all of which we fought to keep free-flowing back in the 1970s, and also wild western rivers like the upper reaches of the North Platte in Wyoming. All of these rivers and streams — and many more, like the magnificent Current in the National Scenic Riverways Park — have their own innate beauty and charm and each is a treasure in its own right. But the river that has most affected us is the mighty Colorado below Glen Canyon Dam.

We booked a flat water float because we didn’t have the time to do a raft trip through the downstream rapids but in no way did we feel slighted or think we had missed anything. The canyon walls soar high above you on both sides of the river, overwhelming you with their magnificence. Etched into their faces are petroglyphs left by the Ancient Ones — many more of which, our Navajo guide explained, have been inundated by the clear, rushing waters which carry us ever onward. One is humbled by the power and might of this magnificent stream, harnessed as it may be in its upstream reaches. When you look around you, it is like glimpsing the face of God.

We feel blessed to have shared so many days on so many of our country’s wonderful rivers and streams. We wish nothing more than for all Americans to be motivated to get out and see the beauty that is ours right now and will be forever. That is, if we continue to do right by our rivers and protect them from mining, poorly planned development, non-point pollution and other threats. For together we can do great things . . . and keep our rivers clean, wild and free.

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