Greetings from Glen Canyon!

Looking out over the Colorado River at Lees Ferry, where Glen Canyon meets Grand Canyon. 

Greetings from Glen Canyon!

hello! My name is elise chan, and this summer i am the Geomorphology assistant at the glen canyon national recreation area.

I am a rising senior at Middlebury College studying Geology with a minor in Geography. Between growing up in Seattle, Washington and attending college in Vermont, I’ve spent most of my life in cold, green places. Upon arriving at my new home for the summer in Page, Arizona, I was immediately struck by the red sandstone cliffs and desert landscape before me.

The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area encompasses a stretch of the Colorado River across Arizona and Utah, bordering both Grand Canyon National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Glen Canyon is also located between Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to the north and the Navajo Nation to the south. The Glen Canyon Dam, one of the largest dams in the US, is located at the south end of the park in Page. The building of this dam created Lake Powell, which is the most popular recreation site in the park. However, my project is focused on the 15-mile stretch of the Colorado River downstream of the dam—read my next blog for more details on that!

Although I’ve only been here for a few days, I can already feel how special this place is. Everywhere I look records a story. As a geologist, I love looking at the waves and bedding structures in the sandstone walls and seeing what the environment was like here hundreds of millions of years ago. From the animals I’ve seen so far, I’m getting tips on how to thrive in the heat of such a rugged, hot landscape. Fragments of pottery and stone scattered among river gravels attest to the rich history of people who have been here long before I have. I’m excited to learn more of (and even contribute to) Glen Canyon’s story through my work at the National Park Service.

Lake Powell at sunset.
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