On the other side, preservationists, led by John Muir, argued that Congress should protect the Hetch Hetchy Valley from d… by a reservoir. Finally, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Raker Act on December 19, 1913. The Hetch Hetchy Valley, located near Yosemite, has been described as being like a slightly lower, drier and warmer Yosemite. to the words William Colby wrote to Gifford Pinchot in 1909 with reference Siding with the conservationists, San Francisco citizens argued that the reservoir was necessary for the health of their city. The women of the conservation crusade had worked hard to preserve the valley as an integral part of the park. How do those positions inform today’s environmental debates? Muir … New York Times 1913 Editorials Opposing Damming of Hetch Hetchy, Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights, 1908 Congressional Hearing About Hetch Hetchy. The Sierra Club, still in its infancy, found itself divided over the Hetch Hetchy proposal with a strong proponent in one of its founders, Warren Olney. 2. Mini-Course: Can We Afford the Wilderness? In 1912 John Muir published his collection The Yosemite, which included “Hetch Hetchy Valley,” his essay singing the glories of the “other” Yosemite Valley and an argument against the construction of a dam that would flood the basin in order to provide water for San Francisco. As long as the busy public in general knew little or nothing about the Hetch-Hetchy Valley, the few cunning drivers of the damming scheme, working in darkness like moles in a low-lying meadow, seemed confident of success; but when light was turned on and the truth became manifest that next to Yosemite, Hetch-Hetchy is the most wonderful and most important feature of the great park, that damming it … The valley, they thought, would be an ideal place for reservoir that would provide water for the city forever. According to John Muir, the Hetch Hetchy Valley was once every bit as beautiful as neighboring Yosemite Valley to the southeast. John Muir (1838-1914) was the leader of the movement to save the Hetch Hetchy Valley from despoliation at the hands of the City and County of San Francisco, which wanted the valley for a municipal water supply. the Hetch Hetchy Valley, a part of Yosemite National Park, from being filled Situated inside Yosemite National Park, the Hetch Hetchy Valley was described by John Muir as “ one of nature’s rarest and most precious mountain temples.” It was one of the most spectacular landscapes on earth, and it was protected for a reason. The dam could provide sorely needed fresh water for the Bay Area along with an inexpensive supply of hydro-electric power. Hetch Hetchy is located in Yosemite National Park and is part of the Tuolumne River watershed. John Muir won the crusade to get Yosemite National Park created, but lost the battle to save Hetch Hetchy Valley from being submersed by a reservoir for San Francisco. John Muir, who led the opposition, wrote beautifully about the valley, calling it “one of Nature's rarest and most precious mountain temples.” He appealed to the nation, asking what else might be at stake if we allowed the creation of a “water tank” in this national park. to Hetch Hetchy: "Let me assure you that we have only begun to fight, and we are not going to rest until we have established the principle 'that our National Parks shall be hold forever inviolate,' and until we have demonstrated to the satisfaction of every one, including yourself, that the American people stand for that principle. See our library. After the dam was completed in 1923, waters flooded the valley, destroying Muir’s environmental muse. To get to Hetch Hetchy, turn north off Highway 120 onto Evergreen Road about 1 mile (2.2 km) outside the Big Oak Flat Entrance gate, and 12.5 miles (20 km) east of the small community of Buck Meadows. "Let Everyone Help to Save the Famous Hetch Hetchy Valley and Stop the Commercial Destruction Which Threatens Our National Parks" by John Muir (San Francisco: 1909); cited in "Politics and the Park: San Francisco's Fight for Hetch Hetchy, 1908-1913" by Kendrick A. Clements in Pacific Historical Review May 1979 vol. Hetch Hetchy Cañon in 1890 by Landscape Artist Albert Bierstadt. O'Shaugnessy oversaw the gradual construction of the network of dams, reservoirs, tunnels, and powerhouses to deliver water and power to SF. The Progressive Era’s most controversial environmental issue was the 1908–1913 struggle over federal government approval for building the Hetch Hetchy dam in a remote corner of federally-owned land in California’s Yosemite National Park. After the Ice Age glaciers retreated, the freshly excavated gorge was utilized by the Tuolumne River… John Muir Contests the Hetch-Hetchy Dam. John Muir rallied other groups, such as the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Saturday Walking Club in Chicago, to oppose the plan, but lacking the active participation of California conservationists, the campaign was unable to derail the project. Photo: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Hetch Hetchy Valley lies about 20 miles north of Yosemite Valley. The Sierra Club today still holds fast If we could return Hetch Hetchy to a more natural state — of the variety that stirred John Muir’s soul a century ago — would we be clearing a path for the emergence of Yosemite Valley 2.0? The name of this valley is derived from Miwok word hatchhatchie, meaning edible grass (tchistory). 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