Sunday, June 6, 2010

A New Teton Dam? Please No.

With a week's worth of rain adding moisture to the normal spring snowmelt, the Teton and Henrys Fork of the Snake River are at moderate risk of flooding, not too far from where I sit right now. It's at these tomes that a few folks in the area winder if the Teton Dam shouldn't be rebuilt.

I'm not so sure. Not that I'm worried about a second dam breaking -- you can be durned sure the Feds would make sure they've got the stars aligned just right for a second attempt. I just like the idea of at least one river in the area just running free, like nature intended. Both the Henrys Fork and the South Fork are dammed and tamed. The Teton, drifting from the foothills of Wyoming's Grand Teton mountains through the Teton Valley, past the Big Hole mountains where it carves itself a pretty little canyon until it pops out onto thd plains to join the Snake at the Menan Buttes, is unchallenged by all but agriculture, where irrigation sucks the south fork of the river through Rexburg dry in the summer, leaving fish kills and fetid pools along the city's putative greenbelt. If that's the kind of Teton River irrigating presents me now, why would I want to make another stretch of the river worse?

I love that the Teton is remote and lonely. I love to sit on the canyon rim and watch the hawks and eagles soar over the river, either looking for fish or rabbits or dodging the brave sparrows who don't want those birds of prey too near their nests. I love the idea of nature having this last little nook, a place to hide, a place where a guy like me can go to be hidden for a while.

Why dam it up snd bury the wrinkled rocks on thd canyon wallls, erase those little sandbars and islands and flood thd trees clinging to the river canyon's southern slopes? All for flood control? Irrigation? Recreation? I can recreate without creating yet another venue for boaters, thank you very much. I love, above all, the silence of that canyon. You just don't get silence back, once you give it away.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod Touch, like a pretentious pseudosnob.

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