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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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But the director of the Bureau of Reclamation asked me one day to make a trip with him down the Yampa River, through the great canyons, and to prove to me that this proposed dam, the so-called Echo Park Dam -- Echo Park being the name of the area; it wasn't really a park but it was the name of an area where this dam was going to be built -- to see for myself how it wouldn't really do any scenic or other environmental damage but would be a great thing for water supply or electric power or whatever was the excuse for building it at that time.

I agreed to go on this, and somehow it seems that David Brower, the executive director of the Sierra Club and a very strong and militant conservationist, heard of this trip and called me up and in a sense invited himself to go along on the trip with me, in order to put his weight on the opposite side of Peterson, the Bureau of Rec chief, who was obviously asking me to make this trip in order to pressure me, if he could, into seeing how wonderful the dam was, instead of how horrible it was, as Dave Brower kept insisting.

So we did make a trip down the Yampa River. I, in the meanwhile, had told the news department that this seemed to be more of a news story to me, and I don't really remember how that came up. Maybe they heard about it and asked me to write on it for the news department rather than for my column. I really don't remember. In any case, the net result was that when I made this one-day trip down the river and through the great gorge of the Yampa -- this involved the Yampa and Green Rivers in Utah -- I went from there -- drove to Salt Lake City and holed up for two days in the Utah Hotel, without leaving my room, and wrote a rather long and comprehensive piece about this whole proposed dinosaur dam issue -- Echo Park Dam, as it was called.

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