The narratives in this book are of journeys made in three wildernesses—on a coastal island, in a Western mountain range, and on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Four men are involved: Charles Park, a mineral engineer who believes that our economic well-being rests on finding metals and extracting them from the earth wherever they are found; Charles Fraser, a resort developer who regards all conservationists as druids ("religious figures who sacrifice people and worship trees"); Floyd Dominy, a builder of gigantic dams, who grew up in dry Western country and deeply believes in the impoundment of water; and David Brower, the most militant conservationist in the world. In turn, Park, Fraser, and Dominy encounter Brower, whether in rapids, in forests, on mountain trails, on a raft, in a jeep, or on foot—now reserved, now friendly, now fighting hard across a philosophical divide.
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Encounters with the Archdruid
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PART 3A River
Floyd Elgin Dominy raises beef cattle in the Shenandoah Valley. Observed there, hand on a fence, his eyes surveying his pastures, he does not look particularly Virginian. Of middle height, thickset, somewhat bandy-legged, he appears to have been lifted off a horse with block and tackle. He wears bluejeans, a white-and-black striped shirt, and leather boots with heels two inches high. His belt buckle is silver and could not be covered over with a playing card. He wears a string tie that is secured with a piece of petrified dinosaur