The short film, Martin's Boat, is a tribute to Martin Litton who pioneered the whitewater dory. It has now been made available to a global audience. Watch it below.


Martin Litton, who died in November 2014 at the age of 97, was known for pioneering the use of whitewater dories.

He used them to run river expeditions through one of America’s greatest landmarks – the Grand Canyon.

Litton believed that people could only really appreciate the stunning beauty of the canyon and the Colorado River by seeing it by boat.

Now, a 24-minute film honouring Litton has just been released free worldwide.

Martin’s Boat pays tribute to this adventurer by following the newest boat in the Grand Canyon Dories fleet, the Marble Canyon.

National Geographic filmmaker, Pete McBride follows the dory on its maiden voyage down the Colorado River.

Litton was also well known as an environmentalist, and was instrumental in preserving the Grand Canyon in its present undammed state.

When two mammoth dams were proposed on the Colorado River—one at Bridge Canyon, the other at Marble Canyon—Litton spoke out passionately against them.

He persuade the Sierra Club, one of America’s oldest environmental organisations, to oppose the plans. In 1968, Congress terminated both projects.

Barbara Boyle of the Sierra Club once described Litton as: “Passionate, original, tempestuous, stubborn, charming, obnoxious, courteous, inappropriate, dogged, fiery, and impossibly effective.”

McBride grew up on the Colorado River, and believes the Marble Canyon Dam defeat was the “quintessential David and Goliath story”.

He said he was inspired to make the film after meeting Litton’s friends.

“Last spring, I was invited to meet the spirit of Martin via some of the people who knew him best—his friends and river family—the boatmen and women who worked with him, grew up in his boathouse and carry his passion for the Grand Canyon forward,” said the filmmaker.

McBride made the film with O.A.R.S, which runs whitewater rafting adventures down the Colorado River.

The company hopes the film will “serve as a call for vigilance in the face of ongoing threats and a reminder that past battles to protect this crown jewel of our National Park System were not easily won”.

It has now teamed up with the Sierra Club to urge key decision makers to protect the Grand Canyon from irreparable damage in the future.