John Wesley Powell River History Museum Announces 2024 Hall of Fame Inductees


Photo Courtesy of the John Wesley Powell River History Museum

John Wesley Powell River History Museum Press Release

The history of the Colorado and Green Rivers is full of daring exploits and fascinating individuals. The John Wesley Powell River History Museum is dedicated to commemorating them all. The museum’s mission is to celebrate the significance of river history through the cultures and landscapes of the Colorado Plateau, and the River Runner’s Hall of Fame (RR HOF) is an integral part of that mission. Since 1990, the museum has inducted over 30 individuals and groups for remarkable contributions to the history and protection of the Colorado River system and positive impacts to its river running community.

For 2024, the RR HOF selection committee is pleased to announce the upcoming induction of river running pioneers Don and Ted Hatch; Roy Webb, preeminent river historian and retired multimedia archivist at the University of Utah’s Marriott Library; and “the French kayakers,” Bernard de Colmont, Antoine de Seynes, and Genevieve de Colmont, who became the first woman to pilot her own craft the length of the Green River and through Cataract Canyon in 1938.

“Our selection committee is thrilled to recognize these individuals,” said Latimer Smith, committee chairman. “Each left their mark in a profound way. Through pioneering expeditions, environmental preservation, historical research and education, early commercial outfitting, and introducing others to the wonders of rivers, their influence has been vast and far reaching.”

Don and Ted Hatch were among the first to recognize the power of river trips to ignite the public conscience. From the 1940s to 2010, Don and Ted were ambassadors to outdoor adventure seekers from across the world. From famous politicians to low-budget school groups, they introduced tens of thousands of people to the wonders of our Western rivers. The Hatches also played a key role in stopping the Echo Park Dam in Dinosaur National Monument, guiding passengers through the canyons of the upper Green and Yampa Rivers and encouraging people to speak on behalf of the monument’s irreplaceable wonders.

Roy Webb is the author of five books on river running history and the creator of the Utah River Running Archives housed in Special Collections at the Marriott Library, University of Utah. He’s a river runner who has dedicated much of his life to collecting, preserving, and sharing the Colorado River system’s history. He has taught classes on river history at the University of Utah, spoken at training seminars for professional guiding associations, and served as facilitator and interpreter on commercial trips along the rivers found on the Colorado Plateau.

The French kayakers—Genevieve and Bernard de Colmont, newlyweds, and friend Antoine de Seynes—launched from Green River, Wyoming, in 1938 and paddled to Lee’s Ferry, Arizona. The trip was notable for its use of folding kayaks and for producing the first color whitewater film, as well as Genevieve’s notable “first.”

The John Wesley Powell River History Museum will host an induction ceremony for this year’s honorees on Saturday, October 5. “The annual ceremony speaks to the core of the museum’s mission,” museum director Janet Smoak explained. “We come together as a river running community to honor the people whose contributions inspire, teach, and amaze us. It’s also an opportunity for our friends, new and long standing, to support the museum’s research, events, and exhibits that preserve and share the stories, history, and science associated with the Colorado Plateau’s rivers, landscapes, and cultures.”

The RR HOF selections are made by a volunteer committee (committee members who are related to nominees or are nominated themselves do not participate in the vote to choose inductees). The public is also welcome to nominate future inductees; individuals wishing to submit nominations must fill out a nomination form detailing the nominee’s contributions to the Colorado River system. Please contact Janet Smoak at (435) 564-3427 or to learn more and receive a copy of the nomination form.

The museum recently launched a new website with information about current and upcoming exhibits, events, and activities. Those interested in supporting the museum and learning more about the 2024 RR HOF induction ceremony are encouraged to visit the new website at, follow the museum on Instagram @jwpmuseum or on Facebook at, or call Janet Smoak at (435) 564-3427.

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