Mile 40 - Marble Canyon Dam Site
Beginning in the 1950s, several dams on the Colorado system were proposed, including one slated for construction by the Bureau of Reclamation in Marble Canyon. Luckily, fierce opposition from environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, as well as from concerned citizens; halted dam construction at the site and others like it within the canyon. Had a dam been built there, an artificial lake would have backed-up water all the way to Lee’s Ferry. Initially, the Sierra Club was not opposed to the dam. Most fortunately though, an individual named Martin Litton; boldly and unyieldingly voiced his disapproval of the Club’s stance and inaction on the issue during a board meeting in May of 1963. Litton’s speech during the meeting persuaded the majority of the board to change their stance on the issue entirely; the Club would now oppose any dams within Grand Canyon. Litton’s zeal also empowered the Club’s Executive Director, David Brower, who was aligned with Litton’s view all along. Moving forward, the duo of Litton and Brower with their recently gained support from the Club; sparked the attention of thousands of American citizens, many of whom sent letters to congress in unprecedented numbers expressing specific disapproval for the Marble Canyon Dam. In 1968, after immense pressured to act, congress passed a law prohibiting the study or construction of hydroelectric dams within Grand Canyon. In 1975, the Grand Canyon Enlargement Act was passed, which substantially grew the park as a whole, and gave the river system within Marble Canyon a layer of federal protection it had not enjoyed ever before.