Iconic Utah outfitter Ken Sleight began his river-guiding career in Glen Canyon during the mid-1950s, just as the Glen Canyon Dam blueprints jumped from the drawing board to remote desert terrain. The pulse of the Colorado River through the canyon would soon be halted by a cement wall and Glen Canyon backfilled with water. Ken knew the condition of the canyon was terminal. He used every ray of daylight to memorize every detail of the canyon before inundation: to learn its 125 side canyons, to observe Native American ruins and mining relics, and to immerse himself in the lives of seminal guides who preceded him like Dave Rust, Bert Loper, and Moki Mac.
Now 88 years old, Ken and a team of Glen Canyon curators, including Frontier Fellow Ryann Savino, opened the archives to create a museum exhibit: Glen Canyon: A River Guide Remembers. With historic landscape photographs, First American artifacts, boats and other gear, passenger portraits and journals, guides’ handwritten-packing lists, and more, this was an exhibit as simple, gritty, and rich as a trip through Glen Canyon with Ken. Within the walls of the John Wesley Powell River History Museum in Green River, Utah in 2018, Glen Canyon lived again.
Glen Canyon: A River Guide Remembers was open May 4, 2018 to March 23, 2019 at the John Wesley Powell River History Museum.
The team created mini version of the exhibit which can be seen in the historic storefront building across from Ray’s Tavern on South Broadway in Green River, Utah.
The team is exploring the possibility of an interactive, online Glen Canyon: A River Guide Remembers exhibit experience. We will post further updates about our progress right here. If you would like to contribute your story click here. Or make a donation to the current exhibit or future online exhibit through Epicenter, please click here. Thank you!