25 Chapters
Medium 9780874212341

7 Controversies, 1956

Richard Westwood Utah State University Press ePub

Beginning in 1956 Georgie left her fall and winter months open for film lectures covering her more spectacular adventures. The following is an information release put out by Georgie in March 1956:

Biographical Information on Georgie White,

“Woman of the Rivers”

Mrs. Georgie Helen White, little publicized for many years despite her numerous achievements, is a modest, but effervescent, easy-talking woman who only now is approaching the threshold of a hobby-turned-career, river running.

One of the nation’s foremost woman adventurers, she has done more in a few short years to make this country’s most dangerous rivers and canyons accessible to the average citizen than any other person living, man or woman.

Now in her early 40’s she is a self-made sportswoman whose love of the outdoors has led her from pier plunges into Lake Michigan as a child in a North Chicago tenement district to personal conquest of the western United States’ ruggedest rivers, including the mighty Grand Canyon of the Colorado River.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780874212341

18 Georgie’s Effect on Passengers, 1976-1979

Richard Westwood Utah State University Press ePub

Park Ranger Tom Workman first met Georgie in May of 1976 when she was sixty-five years old. Her light brown hair was stiff and tangled from long contact with river silt, and her dark, tanned skin hung in loose folds around her knees and elbows. Her face was seamed like the rocks of the canyon she loved. But the muscles underneath that skin were tough as rope, and those turquoise eyes flashed with authority.

Workman was the first National Park Service ranger to be assigned to the Lee’s Ferry ramp area. He said when he first met Georgie he thought, “Is this woman nuts?” Then, as he learned more of her history, he realized what an incredible person she was. He enjoyed being stationed there because he got to talk to her so often. From the beginning he and Georgie became fast friends. They shared the same birthday and exchanged cards or telephone calls on that day.1

Tom told of an incident that occurred during the motor-oar controversy, while the Park Service was still trying to phase out motors. Georgie had been edgy and worried about it. A private trip was waiting to use the ramp to launch, but Georgie was rigging her boats and taking up the entire area. She told them, “I’ve got my stuff here, and when I’m done you can bring your gear in and rig your boats.” This did not sit well with them, and they complained to Workman.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780874212341

9 Exploring Mexican Rivers, 1958-1959

Richard Westwood Utah State University Press ePub

Always looking for new rivers to explore, Georgie had for some time been considering a trip in Mexico. The first such expedition was finally set for the fall of 1958. The party would include Lillian Lasch, Paul Kelly, Marshall Bond, Jr., Frank Rich, Jr., and Orville Miller. They had planned to explore the Rio Papigochico Aros, but that didn’t pan out, as the river and surrounding area were inundated by a tropical storm.

On the flight into Mexico the party encountered continuous torrential rains. On all sides were nothing but clouds. When they finally dropped low enough to see the countryside, the group found the entire terrain flooded. They would later find roads washed out, telephones out of commission, telegraph wires down, and people marooned on high spots hoping desperately for help. More than thirty thousand people were believed to have been left temporarily homeless.

The pilot tried desperately to maneuver out of the storm, flying up several valleys only to be forced back the same way he had come. Fuel was getting low and they were looking for a known emergency landing field. When they finally located it, it was one big lake with the runways completely inundated.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780874212341

23 Birthday Party, 1990

Richard Westwood Utah State University Press ePub

Georgie’s loves, the things that kept her coming back to the Canyon, were the rapids, the river, and the river community.

Carol “Fritz” Fritzsinger was a young boatwoman working for Dick McCallum of Expeditions, Inc., in 1990. Fritz said she thought Georgie just acknowledged her as another woman running the river. Once she was leading a trip that was preparing to launch at Lee’s Ferry at the same time Georgie was there. Georgie came over to her and said, “Now, you tell your boys that they need to get out of my way. I’ve got a big boat and, you know, I need lots of room on the river.” Fritz recalls, “And it just tickled me, that she just recognized me as another woman on the river and that she related to me as ‘a woman and her boys,’ the way she was.” For awhile after that, the men she worked with were nicknamed “Fritz’s boys.”

Fritz and Annie Anderson were talking with Georgie one day and asked if she would do a trip with just guides sometime, so that they could float the river with her—just have a little trip where they could get to know her personally. Georgie thought that was a great idea.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780874212341

15 Disaster on a Mexican River, 1966-1967

Richard Westwood Utah State University Press ePub

In 1966 the Bureau of Reclamation had a bill introduced in Congress that would allow it to construct two hydroelectric dams in the Grand Canyon.1 The proposed Marble Canyon Dam would be located above the Grand Canyon National Park boundary, and Bridge Canyon Dam would be in the lower part of the gorge near Mile 235. At that time only a fraction of the Grand Canyon was included in the existing Grand Canyon National Park. Bridge Canyon Dam, as proposed, would extend a reservoir thirteen miles into Grand Canyon National Park.

The integrity of the park was threatened according to the Sierra Club, who rather than remain on the defensive mounted a counter-offensive. In April 1966 they sponsored legislation that would enlarge the park to include the entire canyon and would specifically prohibit any dams or diversions between Lee’s Ferry, where the canyon begins, and the Grand Wash Cliffs, where it ends.

Other conservationist groups followed suit. Hugh Nash, editor of the Sierra Club Bulletin, wrote:

See All Chapters

See All Chapters