Tom Martin
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  • Grand Canyon, AZ
  • United States
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Tom Martin's Discussions

Boating in Hell Before The Dams
3 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by Stephen Blalock Mar 5, 2018.

From Powell To Power
3 Replies

Started this discussion. Last reply by Ants Uiga Jan 14, 2015.


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Tom Martin's Blog

The Book is Finally here!

The book that covers all the back story behind the 1950's Grand Canyon dory GEM has just been released!

It's called Big Water, Little Boats and included boat dimensions and almost 200 photos of historic Grand Canyon watercraft and river runners. The story included a recounting of a river trip on the highest water ever run in Grand Canyon, 126,000 second…


Posted on June 29, 2012 at 12:55pm — 3 Comments

The Story of the GEM

What better place then Woodenboatpeople could there be to share a never before told Grand Canyon McKenzie drift boat story and to share the construction of some remarkable replica boats?

Dave Mortenson has a permit for a Grand Canyon river trip with a 2011 launch. Who is Dave? Well, he’s hiked more of the north side of the river in the western Grand Canyon then most anyone alive, having been hiking there yearly since 1961. He first ran the Colorado River in Grand Canyon as a wee lad…


Posted on June 5, 2009 at 7:00pm — 13 Comments

Latest Activity

Tom Martin replied to Pete Weisbeck's discussion Wooden drift boat on the Green river advisable?
"Hi Pete, you will be fine on the water. Just keep in mind in the mornings there is a 15 minute load out limit on the ramp. We are trying to change that for folks who need more time, but it can be quieter if you launch in the afternoon. Bring your…"
Jul 3

Profile Information

Grand Canyon and Flagstaff
About Me:
I built a fairly acurate replica of the first Grand Canyon dory, GEM, and then wrote a book about it, Big Water Little Boats.
Boats I own:
GEM replica, Achillies 16ft, 18ft raft, IK, life jacket :>)

Comment Wall (22 comments)

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At 10:00pm on April 27, 2010, Rick Newman said…
Tom and Hazel, wow what a wonderful time getting to know you! I feel like I have known you forever. It was truly an honor to have the GEM be the first wooden boat I ever rowed. Your presentation brought back memories of past slide shows from friends past and tied together some more of the loose ends concerning canyon history. while I haven't been below the South Rim my studies of the canyon combined with you insights and history is a really neat feeling. Someday I'll get there. I have passed up many opportunities, I hope that I don't have to pass up any more. I'll send you the complete file of photos soon.

Your friend always,

Rick Newman
At 9:20am on February 4, 2010, Jeremy Christensen said…
Tom, looks like you had a fantastic trip! Loved the pictures. Well done.

At 9:26am on October 19, 2009, Brian said…
Thanks Tom. This boat has been a real pleasure to both float and rebuild. Through it (and Rogers book), I've learned so much local history. I love being able to drive up the Mckenzie and know the stories of the early guides and boatbuilders who first plied these waters. Besides the magic of being on the river, the history is really the second draw. I have been reading your posts and look forward to some journal entries and photos of you trip (trips).
All the best,
At 2:15pm on September 27, 2009, Matt Beach said…
Hey no problem Tom.... Rain has been holding the boat building process still. No inside building to store the boat so its all being built outside. A blue tarp is keeping it from the elements. Being so close to North GA, I thought I was going to have to flip it over, slap some tar around it and use it to get from place to place (finished or not). With the amount of backed up water and septic tanks empting out, there is a abundance of "brown trout" floating around now, so we are holding off fishing for awhile.
At 7:21am on September 24, 2009, Rick Newman said…
Tom, your boat is progressing really well. I am very envious of your trip and respectful of your efforts. Keep up the good work!

Rick Newman
At 6:26am on June 7, 2009, Rick Finnell said…
I used a Don Hill 10' mini drifter plan, duplicated the center frame and added 16" in length in center of the boat. I don't think it's from a old design.
At 7:51pm on May 17, 2009, Tom Martin said…
Hi Den, thanks for the encouragement! Good luck to you on your Rogue River Dory! Do you know Bigwater Bob Donovan, the Maine tree cutter? Small world, so i thought to ask.

IK = inflatable kayak...
At 1:18pm on May 17, 2009, Den said…
what is an IK?

Den in New Hampshire
What a great project!
At 11:46am on May 15, 2009, Tom Martin said…
Hey Rick, thanks so much for your support and encouragement. Hope you recover soon, and get a chance to do a little boat building yourself! Good luck to you too! Yours, tom
At 8:01am on May 15, 2009, Rick Newman said…
The boat is looking great. I can see that much hard work has been accomplished. I have been busy with some medical issues, now that they are resolved and the weather better I can get started on clleaning out the space for my boat build. Thanks for sharing your photos. Good luck with everything.

Rick Newman

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