Program features 1950s river footage

Tom Martin

Tom Martin

Join resident and avid river runner Tom Martin on Tuesday for a presentation of original 16 mm footage of river running in Grand Canyon from 1955-1959. It will be at 7 p.m. at the Community Building.

The program features 45 minutes of footage including images of rafting past Boulder Narrows at 122,000 cubic feet per second in 1957, burning driftwood, the Phantom Ranch swimming pool in 1957, hiking out at Lava Falls and pushing empty boats into the river in 1958, slow motion images of flipping a fiberglass boat in 24.5 Mile "Georgie" Rapid in 1959, patching fiberglass boats, and the sinking of the Plez Talmadge "PT" Reilly boats at Pipe Creek in 1959.

This presentation includes background information of the origins of the GEM, Grand Canyon's first decked drift boat, also called a dory. This boat incorporated self-bailing through the use of scuppers, had side boxes in the boatman's footwell, and never before seen on any Grand Canyon watercraft, a 15-inch rocker. Yes, you will learn what the boat term "rocker" means. The GEM, built in 1953 in Muncie, Ind., by Stephen Moulton Babcock Fulmer, is now in the fleet of Grand Canyon historic boats.

Martin has been hiking in Grand Canyon since 1967 and serves as physical therapist at the Grand Canyon Clinic.

He has also written a National Outdoor Book Award-winning river guide for river runners in Grand Canyon, "Guide to the Colorado River in Grand Canyon."

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