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River running has grown from the obscure pastime of a few hardy explorers to a major component of the tourist industry in the United States and around the world. Each year, thousands of people gravitate to wild rivers, challenging themselves in whitewater, seeking quiet and beauty, and experiencing nature unchanged. In 1985, the Special Collections department at J. Willard Marriott Library launched an effort to capture the history of river running in the Intermountain West before those who made and lived it disappeared. Since that time, Special Collections has amassed a wide-ranging collection of oral histories, photographs, films, publications, and manuscript materials that document the history of river travel on the Colorado River system. Not only do these collections document the recreational aspects of river running, they also cover environmental history, water use, and development on the Colorado River and its tributaries.