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The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail.

John Wesley Powell

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Before setting out Powell used Hamblin as a negotiator to ensure the safety of his expedition from local Indian groups. Civil war and aftermath
Powell's loyalties remained with the Union and the cause of abolishing slavery. Gathering nine men four boats and food for 10 months he set out from Green River Wyoming on May 24.

Powell served as second director of the US Geological Survey (1881–1894) and proposed policies for development of the arid West which were prescient for his accurate evaluation of conditions. He is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers that included the first known passage through the Grand Canyon.

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