The conscience of a conservationist: Barry Goldwater and the Colorado River

Andrew Needham

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    ON THE EVENING OF JULY 15,1940, Barry Goldwater sat on a sandy beach beside the Colorado River. Contemplating the river running through canyons half a mile high, Goldwater wrote his thoughts on entering the river's main stream that day. "One can sense the might of this river merely by looking at it, and even here, where it flows wide and smooth, one knows that this water is different from any we have traveled in." Even in this calm section, the river's potential power was evident. "Water that comes roaring through here goes on to sculpt rugged, beautiful formations, and to make a rough, fast, dangerous river that forever will challenge the ingenuity of man." Both the river's beauty and its difficulty, he wrote, required protection. In the pages of his journal, he praised Theodore Roosevelt, who saw "what private interests were doing and how far they were going in spoiling the area" and acted to protect much of the river. Even the resources made available by Boulder Dam did not reduce Goldwater's feeling that the river required protection. As the light dimmed on the canyon walls, Goldwater closed his entry for Camp 5. "The fact that downstream these waters are quieted by man for his use doesn't impress me now. We are on the Colorado-that means something more to me than electric power or a harnessed river."1.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationBarry Goldwater and the Remaking of the American Political Landscape
    PublisherUniversity of Arizona Press
    Number of pages24
    ISBN (Electronic)9780816599790
    ISBN (Print)9780816521098
    StatePublished - 2013

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Arts and Humanities


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