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Colorado River Runners Oral History Project


The Colorado River Runners Oral History Project is unparalleled within river running communities: though there are many regional organizations, no others have undertaken a project of this scope. GCRG unofficially began collecting oral history interviews in 1990 at “Woman of the River” Georgie White Clark’s 80th birthday party. Since that time, GCRG’s oral history project has produced nearly 100 interviews. Those interviews continue to serve as the centerpiece for each issue of our publication, the Boatman’s Quarterly Review.


And of course with any program of such depth, collaboration and cooperation are the keys to success. The initial grant for this program was provided by the Southwestern Foundation for Education and Historical Preservation. In the ensuing years, the Arizona Humanities Council has funded the project several times; and Northern Arizona University Cline Library archives, preserves, and hosts online access to the interviews (http://www.nau.edu/library/speccoll).


Currently, our Adopt-a-Boatman program is the public funding mechanism for the Colorado River Runners Oral History Project. This new project has been so wildly successful, in fact, that we are currently only accepting donations for those adoptions that have not yet reached their financial goal. See the Adopt-a-Boatman spreadsheet for details.


Check out the oral history spreadsheet for a full listing of all interviews that are part of our Colorado River Runners Oral History Program as well as links directly to the full transcripts (and sometimes audio or video) that are part of NAU Cline Library’s Colorado Plateau Digital Archives.


GCRG recognized at an early stage that Grand Canyon river running history was in danger, for “if an old one dies, a book is lost.” Preserving Colorado River runners’ stories—those “words from the heart” and their unique spirit, is both our profound responsibility and our distinct honor.