On The River
In 1932, Julian Steward led an expedition down Glen Canyon with a small party that included Charles Kelly, Birney Hoffman, and two historians. The expedition was 28 days long and they were able to excavate 23 sites. Steward, born in 1902, was a professor of archaeology at the University of Utah. A year later Steward went on another expedition led by Ansel Hall to do research on Rainbow Bridge Monument, which Steward described as “exquisite.”
Ken Sleight was an experienced river runner before the dam was constructed, and he became one of its staunchest opponents. In 1953, he bought some assault barges, painted “Ken Sleight Expeditions” on them, and opened a commercial tour business. Sleight had a passion for this area and led many tours even after the dam was constructed. Born in Idaho and raised Mormon, he spent most of his life in Utah advocating for the protection of the environment. He served as president of the Escalante Chamber of Commerce and helped create the Western River Guides Association, which protected the commercial interests of river guides. Under Sleight's leadership, the WRGA advocated for wilderness designation for the Grand Canyon river corridor, a stance that alienated some of its members because motorized boats would be banned. He also helped form Friends of Glen Canyon to help protect it from the government’s plans. He became good friends with Edward Abbey, a fellow activist for the Western landscape.