Excavation of Popular Lake Powell Shortcut Begins

Castle Rock Cut excavation on Lake Powell, 2013 | Courtesy of National Park Service

Castle Rock Cut excavation on Lake Powell, 2013 | Courtesy of National Park Service

File this one under “making the best of a bad situation”: Water levels at Lake Powell are at their lowest since 2005 because of a depleted snowpack, but the low water is allowing the National Park Service to improve a popular boat shortcut on the lake.

Castle Rock Cut connects the lake’s Wahweap and Warm Creek bays. The cut has been excavated several times since Lake Powell was created in the 1960s, but it’s been closed since February 2013 due to low lake levels. Without it, boaters have to go through Antelope Point Marina to get between the two bays — adding about 10 miles and an hour of travel time to each trip.

So the Park Service is excavating the cut again, and this time, it plans to remove 70,000 cubic yards of material and lower the cut by another 20 feet — allowing boats to use it when Lake Powell’s water levels go up again.

A Glen Canyon National Recreation Area spokeswoman told the Arizona Daily Sun that the work, which began January 21, will take about four months and cost $1.6 million.

9 Comments

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9 responses to “Excavation of Popular Lake Powell Shortcut Begins

  1. tom

    what another slap in the face. lake powell was a mistake in the first place. even the great barry goldwater admitted that. now we taxpayers gotta pay for this. lake powell drowned countless native sites. drowned one of the southwest’s most awesome canyons (glen canyon). all for the booze infused boaters…….

    • Yeah, because Vegas would still be there had they not built Lake Powell…..

      • Desertman

        ?? Are you confusing Lake Powell (on the Eastern end of the Colorado) with Lake Mead (near Vegas on the Western end of the Colorado?

    • Ryan

      If you knew anything about the project you would understand that it was funded by visitors and the entrance fees associated with entering the park….had you visited the park and basked in all its glory, you would know this.

    • skatblueeyes

      How much electricity does Las Vegas waste on it’s booze infused gamblers? How much electricity does Las Vegas produce? Where does Las Vegas get it’s electricity? Electricity doesn’t grow on roulette wheels.

      • Desertman

        I don’t think Vegas gets its electricity from the Glen Canyon Dam. Boulder Dam maybe, but not the Glen Canyon Dam.

    • Trevor

      No concept of economy. Get out of here with your hippie naiveté.

  2. This was a beautiful place once. As a Navajo growing up near Lake Powell, I was able to swim, and go fishing as a child. The spread of damage around the world has been very sickening. Where is commonsense laid to rest? Do you know that you are damaging your own existence when you damage the Earth? Haven’t you learned that we are running out of resources? Have you lost your minds? By the way, to ignorant folks out there in the world of bubble life! Electricity going to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix comes from the Navajo Generating Station by Lake Powell! We lived without electricity, and running water growing up! While air heads who lived in their bubbles had no awareness of where the electricity came from. No, you don’t switch a light switch for electricity, it comes from resources off of the Navajo Nation from my relatives home of Black Mesa, and Big Mountain where my relatives are in the middle of constant threat to relocate! http://www.blackmesawatercoalition.org/

  3. Sondra

    …well I guess the only bright spot of this is there will be less gas guzzling with the shortcut?

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