Taylor Graham’s film “Glen Canyon Rediscovered” to screen at the 14th annual Durango Independent Film Festival, Feb. 27-March 4

“Glen Canyon Rediscovered” will be shown during the 14th annual Durango Independent Film Festival. Courtesy of Taylor Graham via The Durango Herald

From The Durango Herald (Katie Chicklinski-Cahill):

Taylor Graham never thought he would have the chance to explore Glen Canyon in Southern Utah.

The canyon, in southern Utah and extending into Arizona, was flooded in 1963 when the controversial Glen Canyon Dam was built, creating Lake Powell reservoir in the Arizona portion of the canyon, leaving many side canyons and an untold number of archaeological sites buried under water.

“Glen Canyon was a place I’d always heard about growing up in Durango and growing up in the river-running community,” the documentary filmmaker said. “I’d always heard of this wonderful world that was lost when Glen Canyon Dam was built in 1963.”

Graham, a Durango native and son of former City Councilor Scott Graham and Susan Graham, now lives in Salt Lake City. He said climate change and the Colorado River being “basically sucked dry in many parts” has caused Lake Powell to drop to a level that side canyons are emerging.

“I felt like it was an opportunity for me to go back and explore some of these places that I thought I would never see in my life,” he said.

Graham chronicled his exploration in the film “Glen Canyon Rediscovered.” It is a story about an epic 350-mile journey “to the remote and lost wonders of Glen Canyon,” but he said there was a bigger purpose for making the movie.

“I set out to make the film to highlight the ways in which climate change and resource mismanagement are affecting the Colorado River and to connect my generation with the story of the loss and resurrection of Glen Canyon,” he said.

Graham and a crew of three – Courtney Blackmer-Raynolds, Micah Berman and Isabelle La Motte – loaded up sea kayaks in fall 2017 and took off on a 42-day expedition on the reservoir. According to the film’s official website, the group started in Moab, Utah, paddled through Cataract Canyon and across the length of Lake Powell to the Glen Canyon Dam site near Page, Arizona.

The film itself was about a year-and-half-long endeavor, Graham said. “Glen Canyon Rediscovered” was released in December through National Geographic, which also helped fund the project with an explorer grant. It will be screened as part of “The Cause and the Call Adventure” program during the Durango Independent Film Festival, which will run Feb. 27 through March 4.

Changes in the northeastern reaches of Lake Powell are documented in this series of natural-color images taken by the Landsat series of satellites between 1999 and 2017. The Colorado River flows in from the east around Mile Crag Bend and is swallowed by the lake. At the west end of Narrow Canyon, the Dirty Devil River joins the lake from the north. (At normal water levels, both rivers are essentially part of the reservoir.) At the beginning of the series in 1999, water levels in Lake Powell were relatively high, and the water was a clear, dark blue. The sediment-filled Colorado River appeared green-brown. To see the complete series go to: earthobservatory.nasa.gov/WorldOfChange/LakePowell. Photos via NASA

Leave a Reply