2007-2008 Gwen Williams Prize
The Ways Rivers are Supposed to Be
Hal Crimmel, English
The purpose of Professor Hal Crimmel's project was to research and write a new book manuscript tentatively entitled The Way Rivers Should Be, which is a combination of memoir, natural & cultural history, and travel writing. In general, he would follow the process he successfully followed for RSPG-sponsored projects in the past, which led to the publication of two books: Dinosaur: A Place of Rivers (Arizona, 2007) and Teaching in Place: Learning from the Land (Nevada, 2008). This process entails combining secondary research with primary research conducted while on location. For this new project he would canoe and kayak the Grasse River, which originates in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State and flows north to the St. Lawrence Seaway. He would draw on his own extensive experience in this region and on this river to explore such issues as industrial pollution at Massena, NY, forest and water conservation, the history of logging and hydropower in the Adirondacks, ice hockey in the small towns along the river (this sparsely populated region produces a disproportionate share of state champion hockey teams in all age groups), the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation, and more. The intention of the book is to reach an educated audience but be written in an engaging narrative style that will appeal to as wide a demographic as possible.