Georgie White, controversial veteran river runner

It’s not the roughest or wildest section of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, but after years of debate, Twenty-Four Mile Rapid is now named after Georgie Clark, the renegade whitewater pioneer whose legend continues to swirl nearly a decade after her death. In a split vote, the U.S. Board of Geographic Names has approved the name change, memorializing the woman who helped found the float-trip outfitting industry on the Colorado River, thumbing her nose at convention in the process.

“This name change was more of a fight than I ever imagined,” said Roz Jirge of California, a friend of Clark’s who began the “Georgie Rapid” project with the Grand Canyon River Guides association a year after Clark’s death from cancer at age 81 in 1992.

“It’s fulfilling for everyone who knew and loved her, but there were a lot of people who hated her guts,” said Jirge. “But she deserves this. Whether you liked her or not, she was a part of the history of the Grand Canyon.”

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