Faces of Rivers: Peter Metcalf, Founder and Former CEO of Black Diamond Equipment

Faces of Rivers is an ongoing profile series from American Rivers

The Desolation-Gray Canyon River, featuring it’s scenic landscape and bright flora and fauna

Utah is blessed to have some of the most diverse, spectacular and iconic natural landscapes in America. One of my favorite ways to explore these landscapes is on the water.

A few years ago, I spent several nights with my family and close friends on the Green River, deep in the Desolation-Gray Canyons, and we had an amazing time. This wild river cuts through the remote and rugged red rock of central Utah and remains one of the largest unprotected areas in the Colorado Plateau. Deso-Gray looks pretty much the same as it did when J.W. Powell first mapped the area in 1869, and it’s one of the only places in this area where you can find an intact ecosystem with black bears, elk, beaver and habitat for our endangered fish, not to mention amazing camps and hikes for us humans to boot!

Last year, thanks to the dedicated work of so many locals, we protected the lower 14 miles of this river as Wild and Scenic. Now, we have the opportunity to extend those protections upstream. If we act soon, there remains an incredible opportunity to create the longest Wild and Scenic River in the Lower 48 states! We who live here know how fortunate we are to have this as our backyard and rightfully think of ourselves as stewards of these special places. For us, there is a sanctity in protecting the waters and lands that make Utah the very special place that it is, and are fundamental to our high quality of life, which is the foundation to our economic vibrancy. Deso-Gray is one of those most special places and I look forward to continuing my role as steward for years to come.

Stories about protecting and restoring our nation’s rivers and streams. How will you get involved?