Flagstaff celebrates Colorado River Days

Examine our Cultural Connection to the River and its Future Oct. 1-8

FLAGSTAFF - Events to inspire people to protect and celebrate the Colorado River will be held during the second Annual Colorado River Days Flagstaff, Oct. 1-8.

Hosted by the Sierra Club, Museum of Northern Arizona, and Grand Canyon Trust, events will include a film, lectures, a songwriting contest, storytelling, and a First Friday Art Walk gathering,

This year's activities are designed to promote public discussion about proposed development along the river, water supply issues, and the relationship that northern Arizona residents have with the Colorado River.

The Bureau of Reclamation's 2012 Colorado River Water Supply and Demand Study confirmed there are significant shortfalls in future water supplies when compared with predicted demands. Last month, the Bureau announced the first-ever changes in water delivery to lower basin states, in response to ongoing drought that has reduced reservoir levels to historic lows. The river no longer reaches its delta in the Sea of Cortez, and new pipelines and projects threaten to siphon even more water.

The Colorado River provides recreation, drinking water, and irrigation to millions of people. It stretches across 1,450 miles of land, carving into the earth to form beautiful landscapes such as the Grand Canyon. The river is home to many isolated and imperiled species including Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, and bonytail and razorback sucker.

"As demands on water use increase, we need to recognize Flagstaff's connection to the Colorado River and discuss how we should protect it, not just because it's integral to our economy, but also because of the incredible ecosystems that depend on the river and its floodplains," explained Alicyn Gitlin, Conservation Coordinator for Sierra Club's Grand Canyon Protection Campaign.

Schedule of events:

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 6 p.m. Film at the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA), 3101 N Fort Valley Road. My Canyonlands: The Adventurous Life of Kent Frost. Free admission.

Thursday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. Colorado River Songwriting Contest at Uptown Pubhouse, 114 N. Leroux St. Come cheer on your favorite performers. Song submissions due Thursday, Sept. 26. To get more information, contact Alicyn Gitlin at 928-774-6514 or e-mail alicyn.gitlin@sierraclub.org

Friday, Oct. 4, 6 - 8:30 p.m. at Heritage Square. Colorado River Celebration. Organizations connected to the River will host tables in the Square during October's First Friday Art Walk. Get involved with a new cause, meet new friends, and learn something new. Musical performance by Ed Kabotie.

Saturday, Oct. 5, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Ft. Valley Road. Third annual Grand Canyon Authors Symposium: Of Lines and Layers. Authors explore the Grand Canyon through words and images. Authors include Lori Rome, Midji Stevenson, Bronze Black, Rick Kempa, Naseem Rakha, Christa Sadler, Tom Martin, Seth Muller, Stephen Hirst, Heidi Blankenship, Danny Rosen, Jean Rukkila, Ann Weiler Walka, and Margaret Erhart.

Saturday, Oct. 5, 5:30 p.m. at the Grand Canyon Trust, 2601 N. Fort Valley Road. Stories from the Confluence. A very special night featuring storytellers who hold a special place in their heart for the Confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers, including families who live there and local yarn spinners. BBQ potluck starting at 5:30 p.m., with campfire stories 6:30-8:30 p.m. Burgers, brats and campfire provided. Please bring a story and a side dish to share. BYOB.

Sunday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m. Morning talk at the Zane Grey Ballroom (upstairs) at the Weatherford Hotel, 23 N. Leroux St. Eric Balken of Glen Canyon Institute will focus on Glen Canyon and the Grand Canyon, exploring the ecological, economic, and social importance of the Colorado River as its existence is reshaped by demand, drought and climate change. With an ever-growing population and projected reduction in future flows, Colorado River water is evolving from an abundant resource to one of great scarcity and value. The discussion is followed by a Glen Canyon Institute social gathering: Meet GCI members and learn about the organization.

Monday, Oct. 7, 6 p.m. at the Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Fort Valley Rd. The Future of the Colorado River: Presentations and panel discussion by those trying to plan for future conservation and use of the river. Ask questions and offer your thoughts.

Tuesday, Oct. 8th, 6 p.m. at Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Ft. Valley Rd. A community discussion about the proposed development at the confluence of the Little Colorado River and Colorado River.

For Colorado Days information, go to http://www.coloradoriverdaysflagstaff.org/.

The Museum of Northern Arizona is at 3101 N. Fort Valley Road in Flagstaff. For information, go to musnaz.org or call 928-774-5213.

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