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I came out pretty darn strongly on the anti-dam side. Years and years later, a chap named
Mark [W.T.] Harvey wrote a book about the whole controversy called A Symbol of Wilderness,
and the subtitle is Echo Park and the American Conservation Movement [Albuquerque:
University of New Mexico Press, 1994]. He got in touch with me in connection with this book.
I never had heard of him and had had no contact with him at all before that. He tells the story
and quotes me as stating in the story that I wrote for the Times as calling the Yampa Canyon
one of the most strikingly beautiful canyons -- some of the most strikingly beautiful canyon
scenery in the world.
He quotes Peterson of the Bureau of Reclamation, the man who invited me to take this trip to
defend the thing, as admitting, “If there's any other possible way to do this, the dam shouldn't
be built here.” That's a quote from Peterson. Then Harvey in his book goes on to say that
“Peterson proved less helpful to the campaign,” meaning against the dam, “than Oakes, who
published more than twenty articles about Dinosaur and gave the controversy prominent
attention in the Times.”
He obviously thought that that article that I wrote, which was published in the news columns
-- and then I wrote a lot of other articles in my column -- I've never counted them, but if this
book by Mark Harvey says I did twenty, I'm quite willing to believe it, that I must have done
at least fifteen or twenty articles attacking the idea of building a dam in that particular place
because it is one of the most beautiful spots in the world -- in the West, I should say -- and a
wonderful canyon. And that's one of the conservation victories that really was a victory.
There have been a lot of defeats, but that was a victory.
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