Christened the “Charles H. Spencer,” it was the largest boat to operate at Glen Canyon. It proved a failure, however, due to lack of power, and conducted only five trips upstream.

Issues involving the cost of mercury necessary to operate the amalgamator exceeded the value of gold retrieved, causing investors to withdraw support, and Spencer’s mining operations were shut down.

Steamboat “Charles H. Spencer” constructed to transport coal from Warm Creek to Lees Ferry for placer mining.

Intermittent mining periods followed, including oil prospecting and drilling during the 1920s followed by some uranium claims staked in Glen Canyon during the 1950s. Uranium deposits proved too low, and no prospects developed.

With the culmination of gold mining operations in Glen Canyon, it became apparent that the richer gold deposits were found in the lateral gravel terraces above the high-water level. Excessively fine gold was recovered in California Bar, Castle Butte Barr, Hite, Good Hope, Gretchen Bar, Klondike Bar, Moquie Bar and Ticaboo Bar — however, not enough to ensure sustainable mining.

Glen Canyon became part of a major Colorado River Storage Project through congressional approval to ensure equitable distribution of the river’s water to seven states in the Colorado River Basin. Authorized in 1956 and erected by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Glen Canyon Dam’s erection in 1963 flooded Glen Canyon with the reservoir water of Lake Powell.


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