Martin’s Boat to Screen at Mountain & Adventure Film Festival

January 6, 2016Emily NucholsNPF Blog

Colorado river at the bottom of grand canyon

“I never felt it did any good to be reasonable about anything in conservation, because what you give away will never come back — ever.” - Martin Litton

Grand Canyon river-running pioneer Martin Litton spent his lifetime as a fierce advocate for preservation and conservation. In fact, preeminent conservationist David Brower once called Litton his “conscience,” and he was instrumental in preserving the Grand Canyon in its present undammed state.

A new film, “Martin's Boat,” from National Geographic filmmaker Pete McBride and O.A.R.S. pays tribute to Litton's legacy while following the newest boat in the Grand Canyon Dories fleet, the Marble Canyon, on her maiden run down the legendary Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

Small boat with people in rapids

Litton, who passed away on November 30, 2014 at the age of 97, is known for pioneering the use of whitewater dories to run river expeditions through the Grand Canyon, and more importantly, for his uncompromising role in some of our country’s great conservation victories in the 1960s.

When two mammoth dams were proposed on the Colorado — one at Bridge Canyon, the other at Marble Canyon — Litton spoke out passionately against them in front of the Sierra Club board and convinced Brower and the Club to launch a campaign opposing the dams.

In 1968, Congress terminated both projects. Barbara Boyle of the Sierra Club once described Martin as, “Passionate, original, tempestuous, stubborn, charming, obnoxious, courteous, inappropriate, dogged, fiery, and impossibly effective."

Now, some 50 years later, America’s open-air cathedral faces continued pressure from development and mining threats and this film serves as a call for action in the face of ongoing threats and a reminder that past battles to protect this crown jewel of our National Park System were not easily won and don’t guarantee protection from future degradation or even destruction at the hand of man.

Add your voice to the thousands who are standing against further development of this, our most precious National Park. Take action today.

The full film will premiere at at Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival this month and will be screening online as part of the Mountain & Adventure Film Festival.

Proceeds from this online festival help to support National Park Foundation and other great organizations working to protect our wild places. 


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