Peter Mathiesen and Technicolor Reality in the Desert

April 27, 2004 By: Marshall Cutchin

The fact that in common usage we use ‘technicolor’ to describe an ultimate visual experience says a lot about how we value the impact of human culture on the environment. Apparently it satisfies even the most hardened naturists (and I use that term advisedly) like Peter Mathiesen, author of the classic 1959 book Wildlife in America (read it if you haven’t). In 1963, Glen Canyon, in Arizona, was dammed to produce the 260-square-mile Lake Powell — a tragedy in the minds of many who had enjoyed the raw majesty of the landscape there. But as Bob Marshall writes in this month’s Field & Stream, the result has included a tailwater fishery — Lees Ferry — that rivals any in the country.