Vision and Place: John Wesley Powell and Reimagining the Colorado River Basin

Vision and Place: John Wesley Powell and Reimagining the Colorado River Basin

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The Colorado River Basin’s importance cannot be overstated. Its living river system supplies water to roughly forty million people, contains Grand Canyon National Park, Bears Ears National Monument, and wide swaths of other public lands, and encompasses ancestral homelands of twenty-nine Native American tribes. John Wesley Powell, a one-armed Civil War veteran, explorer, scientist, and adept federal administrator, articulated a vision for Euro-American colonization of the “Arid Region” that has indelibly shaped the basin—a pattern that looms large not only in western history, but also in contemporary environmental and social policy.
One hundred and fifty years after Powell’s epic 1869 Colorado River Exploring Expedition, this volume revisits Powell’s vision, examining ts historical character and its relative influence on the Colorado River Basin’s cultural and physical landscape in modern times. In three parts, the volume unpacks Powell’s ideas on water, public lands, and Native Americans—ideas at once innovative, complex, and contradictory. With an eye toward climate change and a host of related challenges facing the basin, the volume turns to the future, reflecting on how—if at all—Powell’s legacy might inform our collective vision as we navigate a new “Great Unknown.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520375796
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 10/27/2020
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 344
Sales rank: 861,958
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Jason Robison is Professor of Law at the University of Wyoming and coauthor of Law of Water Rights and Resources.

Daniel McCool is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Utah, author of River Republic: The Fall and Rise of America's Rivers, and coauthor of Native Vote: American Indians, the Voting Rights Act, and the Right to Vote

Thomas Minckley is Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wyoming and principal organizer and leader of the 150th anniversary Powell Expedition project, the Sesquicentennial Colorado River Exploring Expedition (SCREE).

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Maps

Charles Wilkinson

Introduction: The "Great Unknown"


1. Strange Resurrection: The Fall and Rise of John Wesley Powell
Louis S. Warren and Rachel St. John

2. Communitarianism in Western Water Law and Policy: Was Powell’s Vision Lost?
Robert W. Adler

3. Common Water Commonwealth: The Paradox of a Shared Resource
Amorina Lee-Martinez and Patricia Limerick

4. Powell's Legacy—The Bureau of Reclamation and the Contemporary West: Water Exchanges
Robert Glennon

5. John Wesley Powell and the National Park Idea: Preserving Colorado River Basin Public Lands
Robert B. Keiter

6. Who Is the "Public" on the Colorado River Basin's Public Lands?
Paul Hirt

7. Powell as Unwitting Godfather of Outdoor Recreation in the Great Unknown
Emilene Ostlind

8. Stewart Udall, John Wesley Powell, and the Emergence of a National American Commons
William deBuys

9. "We Must Either Protect Him or Destroy Him"
Weston C. McCool and Daniel C. McCool

10. "Pastoral and Civilized": Water, Land, and Tribes in the Colorado River Basin
Autumn L. Bernhardt

11. Civilizing Public Land Management in the Colorado River Basin
Daniel Cordalis and Amy Cordalis

12. John Wesley Powell’s Land and Water Policies and Southwestern Native American Agricultural Practices
William J. Gribb

John C. Schmidt


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