Echo Park Controversy

The American West consisting of the Rocky Mountain States as well as the states on the US West Coast, experienced rapid economic growth during World War II and the years following. The increase in population resulted in an increased demand for water and power. Consequently, the United States Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation responded with the Colorado River Storage Project. This Project, conceived during the late 1930s, called for a series of dams along the Colorado River and its tributaries. The reservoirs resulting from these dams would provide water for power and other uses, and in the view of project supporters, would help bring prosperity to the American West.
Two of the dams proposed in the Upper Colorado River Storage Project would have been built at Echo Park and at Split Mountain Park, both within the borders of the Dinosaur National Monument. Individuals and groups supporting the National Park Service and the conservation of natural resources opposed these dams because they would have flooded canyons within a national monument (Dinosaur) and thus impair the preservation of this park in its natural state. Thus arose what has become known as the Echo Park Controversy. A major question asked during the debate was “Can these dams be build without damaging the integrity of Dinosaur National Monument?”
People on both sides of the controversy had valid points. While this debate started well before Eisenhower's presidency, it ended up on President Eisenhower's shoulders to make a final decision.

  1. Documents