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Lake Powell

Morgan Oliver-Allen


Behind the Shot

Morgan visited Lake Powell during quarantine, and unlike his first visit years before, the lake appeared to be deserted. “We were on our way back from my parents’ place and got to take a helicopter ride over the lake. It's one of the most magical places on this planet, absolutely unreal, and this time totally empty. No boats, no campers, nothing.”

In a normal year, about 2 million people visit Lake Powell, in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the border of Utah and Arizona, just past the northeast edge of the Grand Canyon along the Colorado River. Tourists and locals flock here to beat the desert heat with a variety of water activities including fishing, boating, houseboating, kayaking and world class waterskiing and Jet Skiing.

Lake Powell is the second largest man-made reservoir in the United States, second only to Lake Mead. On average, Lake Powell holds about 26 million acre-feet of water, which is about 2 years’ worth of average flow of the Colorado River.

As far as lakes go, Powell is a baby. The massive Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963, and the flow of the Colorado River was forever altered, creating Lake Powell. This “aquatic bank” was required so that Lake Mead downriver could continue to provide water to California, Arizona and Nevada regardless of drought conditions.