ALL IN THE FAMILY
Buzz Belknap, grew up going on river trips with his father, photographer Bill Belknap, and family friend Otis “Dock” Marston. Buzz’s outstanding Canyon adventures include a 1958 outboard expedition riding flows in excess of 100,000 c.f.s. and a 1963 sportyak trip on 900 c.f.s. He also crewed for the 1959 Disney film, Ten Who Dared, a reenactment of Powell’s journey, and, at the age of sixteen, piloted one of four jet boats on the successful 1960 Grand Canyon uprun. In 1968, while an officer in the U.S. Navy, he conceived the idea for the Grand Canyon River Guide. Working with his Dad and printer Eben Dale, he designed and produced the first Guide, now known as “Old Blue.” It came off the press in time for the 1969 Powell Centennial Celebration.
Loie Belknap Evans, author of several River Guides in the series, is president of Westwater Books, headquartered in Evergreen, Colorado, where she oversees annual updates to each book and keeps on top of ongoing changes in the river community. As a licensed river guide for many years, she played a key role in Fastwater Expeditions, a family-owned river business that featured full participation trips in individually rowed Sportyaks. Sharing interests in canyons and rivers with the family and friends, Loie has introduced lots of folks to the fun of fastwater boating.
Jodi Parry Belknap, editor of the guides, first fell in love with the river at age ten floating through Paria Riffle on an air mattress. For many years, she ran Belknap Publishing & Design, a Honolulu firm that produces books on arts and crafts, history, memoir, and travel, as well as picture books for children.
Lynn Evans Peesel, whose information on how to successfully use your digital camera in the Canyon that appears in the Grand Canyon River Guide, is the latest member of the Westwater Books editorial team, adding her knowledgeable eye and years of experience running rivers. She and husband Mark also are introducing daughters Zoe and Spencer to hiking, birdwatching and other outdoor experiences as river trip preparation.
Bill Belknap, a native of upstate New York, moved west at an early age and thus began a life-long love affair with the Canyon country. Bill Belknap trained at Life magazine and served as White House photographer for the U.S. Navy. Later, he photographed and wrote for National Geographic and other publications.
Through meeting and photographing some of the Grand Canyon greats, such as Emery Kolb, Buzz Holmstrom, Norm Nevills, and Dock Marston, Bill became deeply involved in river running. Beginning in the late 1940s, he participated in, photographed, and wrote extensively about his Canyon adventures.
In 1969, Bill’s son Buzz enlisted his father’s help to create the first Grand Canyon River Guide. That teamwork led to the establishment of a family publishing company, Westwater Books, which continues to produce this Guide and others for river runners today.
Bill Belknap loved people and sharing with them the things he cherished most—the Colorado and its canyons, deserts, Indians, and photography.
Bill Belknap’s photographic collection is with the Cline Library at Northern Arizona University.