Ed M. Norton

Former senior advisor to the Nature Conservancy, China

In 1999, Ed M. Norton came to Yunnan as senior advisor to The Nature Conservancy, with his late wife, Ann McBride Norton. The Nature Conservancy had been asked by the Yunnan government and the Government of China to assist in establishing some of the first National Parks in China and adding to China’s system of Nature Reserves. As founder of the Grand Canyon Trust, an NGO which played a leading role in the protection of the Grand Canyon, Ed was an expert on national parks and river systems.

Ed and Ann ended up staying in Yunnan for 5 years, falling in love with the province and its people. For them, this was more than just a job assignment, it was also a family affair. Ed’s son, Jim Norton, a well-respected River Guide, came to explore the possibility of rafting the upper-reaches of the Yangtze River (the Jinsha (Gold Sand) River), the Mekong (Lancang) River, and the Salween (Nujiang) River in Northwest Yunnan. Ed’s other son, Edward Norton, expressed his relationship with China’s rivers on the big screen, with his leading role in “The Painted Veil”, a movie adaptation of Somerset Maugham’s novel.

In a culmination of their efforts, the whole family came together to produce the documentary “The Yunnan Great Rivers Expedition”, which documented their whitewater expedition through the upper Mekong, Salween and Yangtze rivers.

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