Glen Canyon splendor and controversy surfaces in new book

The natural beauty and torrent of controversy surrounding Glen Canyon flow through Annette McGivney’s new book.

Resurrection, Glen Canyon and a New Vision for the American West, written by McGivney, with photography by James Kay, is more than its stunning photographs. It is a ballad for the land and a plea to nurture it rather than exhaust it.

glen canyon
Photo by James Kay

McGivney, a journalism lecturer in Northern Arizona University’s School of Communication, blends facts with prose to tell the tale of Glen Canyon’s striking reappearance resulting from a receding Lake Powell.

“I want the world to embrace the canyon’s recovery and value this ecological miracle over the dead reservoir of Lake Powell,” she says. “I am hoping the book will help people decide they value a healthy ecosystem and long-term environmental sustainability over short-term profit-driven activities like Jet Skiing on a fake lake.”

McGivney is promoting changing water policy so that Lake Powell stays at 30 percent or less, which she says would allow side canyons to recover in a stable environment.

“It seems like Glen Canyon is showing people that even though the effects of climate change are very scary, there is hope if we let nature resume its cycles,” McGivney says. “It is a beautiful example of what is possible in the rest of the world.”

The flooding of Glen Canyon following the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam in the late 1960s created Lake Powell, one of largest human-made reservoirs in the United States. It also led to the creation of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, a popular summer recreation destination.

Annette McGivney
Author Annette McGivney exploring Glen Canyon. Photo by James Kay

Besides concise accounts of history and the controversy over water politics throughout the Southwest, the book includes descriptive passages, maps and recommends hikes in the area carved by the Colorado River in the Vermilion Cliffs near northern Arizona and southern Utah.

McGivney wrote Resurrection after covering a story assignment forBackpacker magazine about the drought lowering the lake levels. “No one seemed to be paying attention to what I thought was a miracle and a really good story,” she explains.

She teamed up with photographer and Outdoor magazine adviser James Kay, whose images have been featured in the Los Angeles TimesNational Geographic AdventureTimeOutsideNewsweek and more.

“It was sheer pleasure to share Annette’s company during our travels into Glen Canyon, and I felt her extraordinary command of the English language provided an ideal complement to my imagery,” Kay says.

Resurrection, available at the NAU Bookstore, was produced by Mountaineers Books and published in partnership with the Glen Canyon Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to designating Glen National Recreation Area as a national park.

Last spring, McGivney won a Maggie Award in the Best News Story category at the Western Publications Association awards for “Free Fall,” an article in the June 2007 edition of Backpacker magazine investigating the 2006 murder of a Japanese tourist in Arizona’s Havasu Canyon