My long awaited Grand Canyon private trip in May was even more special because of the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies controlled “flood” of 45,000 cfs that was conducted for a week in March, 2012. BuRec’s official designation was “a habitat-building test flow”. Would the beaches be restored or would they be scoured? I was hopeful but I had my doubts, too.
Overall, I’d say the amount of sand restored to most of the popular campsites is greater than before. But from a camper’s perspective it’s tough to appreciate the tons of restored sand when you’re hauling gear from the rafts up steep inclines of sliding sand to the campsite. It’s my opinion that the beaches are somewhat improved above the Little Colorado confluence. The improvement below the Little Colorado confluence is very evident, but some previously sandy campsites are mostly rock now. I was also impressed by the dozens of new “mini-beaches”, pristine and never touched, though probably too small for most parties’ camping desires. A couple of the guys who had been on the river seven months earlier recalled a ten foot tree at the far end of Grapevine camp. It was now up to its neck, only two feet protruding.
However, the siltation continues unabated at the mouths of Lake Mead and Lake Powell. I wonder if the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies group could figure a way to move all that silt from the top of Lake Powell past the dam…. And then, ….if we could just do something about all that smog and aircraft noise over the Grand Canyon….