Tourism also has become a major factor in the economies of many towns in the basin. Places such as Dinosaur National Monument and the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry (administered by the Bureau of Land Management), as well as Flaming Gorge and other reservoirs, and of course the river itself, draw thousands of tourists from all over the world. The river basin is crossed by several major transcontinental highways and railroads, chief among them being U.S. highways 40 and 6/50, and the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railway. Although there have been attempts, most notably around the turn of the century, to develop passenger and freight service on the Green River, the seasonal flows and rapid-filled stretches of the river have precluded any such development.
As early as 1904 the U.S. Reclamation Service and the state government began investigating the possibility of building dams on the Green for water reclamation and power production. A comprehensive survey of the Green River for dam sites was undertaken by the U.S. Geological Survey and Utah Power and Light Company in the years 1914 to 1922. Shortly after World War II, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced plans to build a large dam on the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument, just inside the Colorado border. Another was planned for Split Mountain Canyon, a few miles downstream. Widely praised in Utah, this plan soon met fierce opposition from conservationists, resulting in a bitter, protracted, and ultimately successful fight to defeat the Echo Park Dam. The controversy left divisions in the communities of the Green River Basin that linger to this day. In 1956 work began on a dam in Red Canyon, on the Upper Green. Flaming Gorge Dam was completed in 1963, and today the reservoir has become a popular destination for fishermen and boaters.
The Green River is the largest of all of Utah's streams and is central to the history of the state in terms of its exploration and development. Therefore, the Green fully deserves to be called Utah's master stream.