The First Two Botanists Who Surveyed, and Survived, the Colorado River

Written by on June 6, 2023

In the summer of 1938 the first women known to travel the entire Colorado River—and survive—documented the flora and fauna of the region before it was further reshaped by Western development. They were white botanists in academia who battled both the usual obstacles in scientific expeditions and some unusual ones: doubters telling them they were doomed to fail, a lack of funding, the serious risk of injury or even death and, for one of the botanists, her father’s permission. Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter wrangled the only experienced river runner available, Norm Nevills, who insisted they . . .

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