The Hetch Hetchy Valley, California, undated painting by Albert Bierstadt (black and white). In 1902, ex-Mayor James Phelan of San Francisco filed a claim with the federal government for the water from the Tuolomne River, which would be gathered by damming the mouth of the Hetch Hetchy Valley. We went a bit later in the day and barely saw anyone. Hetchy, in the 1950s and 1960s, the Sierra Club successfully stopped dams from In 1923, San Francisco revoked Spring Valley Water Company's franchise and began rebuilding the water mains and plumbing for the citizens of San Francisco. As well dam for water-tanks the people's cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man . But there was a catch. the nation in defense of its national parks. Muir … In 1902, ex-Mayor James Phelan of San Francisco filed a claim with the federal government for the water from the Tuolomne River, which would be gathered by damming the mouth of the Hetch Hetchy Valley. - The Hetch Hetchy Valley was "uncommon feature" not found often in nature - Submerging Hetchy Hetchy would NOT enhance its beauty by creating a crystal-clear lake - Damming Hetch Hetchy would come at a universal public loss for the private gain of a few - John Muir thought Hetch Hetchy Valley was a gift from God that shouldn't be destroyed The valley, they thought, would be an ideal place for reservoir that would provide water for the city forever. On the other side, preservationists, led by John Muir, argued that Congress should protect the Hetch Hetchy Valley from d… ... Hetch Hetchy is perfect if you want a little more seclusion. said John Muir.1, Meanwhile, Mayor Phelan considered the project essential to save the city from "monopoly and microbes." See our library. From 1901 - 1913, John Muir led the Sierra Club in a campaign to protect [email protected] Siding with the conservationists, San Francisco citizens argued that the reservoir was necessary for the health of their city. It was the first time the young national park system had been so violated. How do those positions inform today’s environmental debates? The battle for Hetch Hetchy was perhaps the first effort at what is now known as "grassroots lobbying," getting individual citizens to contact elected officials in support of or opposition to legislation. We are going to keep up the good fight without fear or favor, 'if it shall take until doomsday. After the Ice Age glaciers retreated, the freshly excavated gorge was utilized by the Tuolumne River… being built in Dinosaur National Monument and in Grand Canyon National Park. Mini-Course: Can We Afford the Wilderness? The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which holds 117 billion gallons of water behind a 312-foot dam, drowned a glacial valley that early conservationist John Muir … to the words William Colby wrote to Gifford Pinchot in 1909 with reference New York Times 1913 Editorials Opposing Damming of Hetch Hetchy, Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights, 1908 Congressional Hearing About Hetch Hetchy. Please consider a year-end contribution to Restore Hetch Hetchy. The city's line ended a few hundred yards from PG&E's Newark substation on the eastern side of the south bay, conveniently close to PG&E's just-completed high-voltage delivery cable from Newark to SF. Although it was once known for its natural, beautiful valley, for the past 90 years or so, it has provided the San Francisco Bay Area with hydroelectricity and serves as its main water source. Although Hetch Hetchy is included within the boundaries of Yosemite National Park, the entrance is separate from the rest of the park. As well dam for water-tanks the people's cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man." Students will study the Hetch Hetchy debate with primary sources from the records of Congress. The flooding of Hetch Hetchy valley is an enduring issue and there is currently a growing movement advocating for draining and restoring the iconic valley. The Sierra Club today still holds fast John Muir wrote to his friend Robert Underwood Johnson: "We held a Sierra Club meeting last Saturday--passed resolutions and fanned each other to a fierce white Hetch Hetchy heat. Hetch Hetchy valley as painted by Alfred Bierstadt, 1890s. Since the 1880s, the city of San Francisco had been raising the possibility of constructing a dam on the Tuolumne River at Hetch Hetchy Valley. 2. M.M. The name of this valley is derived from Miwok word hatchhatchie, meaning edible grass (tchistory). This is the story of water, a valley, and a city. 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. http://foundsf.org/index.php?title=The_Hetch_Hetchy_Story,_Part_I:_John_Muir,_Preservationists_vs._Conservationists&oldid=25112. Muir referred to this valley to Yosemite Valley because of its glamorous views. Guiding Question: What environmental positions were reflected in the 1908-1913 congressional debate about damming the Hetch Hetchy Valley? Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0. ." Our blog. The city was San Francisco, the valley was Hetch Hetchy, and the waters were from the Tuolumne River watershed, located within Yosemite National Park. 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 battle for Hetch Hetchy was perhaps the first effort at what is now known as "grassroots lobbying," getting individual citizens to contact elected officials in support of or opposition to legislation. Photo: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. When Ruef and the ULP were exposed and put on trial soon after the earthquake of 1906, the water issue re-emerged in the glaring national spotlight that followed the spectacular destruction and fire. I particularly urged that we must get everybody to write to Senators and the president keeping letters flying all next month thick as storm snow flakes, loaded with park pictures, short circulars, etc. The arguments of the preservationists were focused on saving Hetch Hetchy Valley for public use. Our flagship blog features analysis of news from our staff and announcements of upcoming events. A hydroelectric powerhouse was built and enough copper wire purchased to stretch from the Sierras to San Francisco. 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? Pleistocene glaciation had carved this spectacular canyon westward from the Sierra crest, its icy thrust waning approximately where Hetch Hetchy valley now exists. In 1925, it was abruptly announced that San Francisco had run out of money and could not complete the power lines into the city. Let us never forget what happened here. . John Muir, in Chapter 16 of his book The Yosemite (chapter titled "Hetch Hetchy Valley"), writes The floor of the Valley is about three and a half miles long, and from a fourth to half a mile wide. 2. the Sierra Club lost that battle, the loss of Hetch Hetchy served to awaken Initial opposition came from the lightly populated eastern Central Valley where there were two irrigation districts in Modesto and Turlock with their own eyes on the Tuolomne River watershed. The Death of a Valley and its Protector. (op.cit. Study for "The Hetch Hetchy Valley, California" painting by Albert Bierstadt (black and white). Soon after a city of San Francisco referendum in November 1903 favored construction of the dam, John Muir had taken the Hetch Hetchy issue to the nation. 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. . Hetch Hetchy—whose name is likely derived from a Miwok phrase meaning “edible grasses”—is essentially a carbon copy of the popular pilgrimage site Yosemite Valley, complete with its … from private Phelan papers, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley). ', For information about this website, e-mail: As the Merced flows in tranquil beauty through Yosemite, so does the Tuolumne through Hetch-Hetchy. In the early 20th century, San Francisco flooded the Hetch Hetchy Valley, destroying "one of nature's rarest and most precious mountain temples." 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. From 1908-1913, Congress debated legislation to supply the city of San Francisco with water by damming the Hetch Hetchy Valley. In John Muir's eyes, the Hetch Hetchy Valley of Yosemite National Park was "one of Nature's rarest and most precious mountain temples." O'Shaugnessy oversaw the gradual construction of the network of dams, reservoirs, tunnels, and powerhouses to deliver water and power to SF. The city of San Francisco, rebuilding after the devastating 1906 earthquake, believed the dam was necessary to meet … 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. From 1908-1913, Congress debated legislation to supply the city of … However, the renowned conservationist ultimately lost his struggle to save the slightly smaller Hetch Hetchy Valley from development and, in … Vineet N wrote a review Jun 2019. Hetch Hetchy valley is in Yosemite National Park, about 190 miles east of San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Dam Hetch Hetchy! "Dam Hetch Hetchy! Hetch Hetchy was part of Yosemite National Park, which meant that it was federal property. animation: John Muir on Hetch Hetchy by Jim Swanson. 1910 Map of Hetch Hetchy Valley and Surrounding Region, Giving a Dam; Congress Debates Hetch Hetchy. In late October 1934, the system finally brought water into the city, but its power transmission lines never reached beyond PG&E's Newark substation on the eastern side of the south bay. Given the era and the prevailing pro-development values (hardly changed to this day, after all), it is not surprising that the congressional committees created to analyze the controversy opted to allow the city to build the Hetch Hetchy dam. Hetch Hetchy valley is in Yosemite National Park, about 190 miles east of San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Hetch Hetchy Valley, located near Yosemite, has been described as being like a slightly lower, drier and warmer Yosemite. The glacial Hetch Hetchy Valley lies in the northwestern part of Yosemite National Park and is drained by the Tuolumne River. The most outspoken opposition to San Francisco's plans came, however, from the nascent preservation movement, led in this case by the famous John Muir. by a reservoir. . Hetch Hetchy is the name of a valley, a reservoir and a water system in California in the United States. Hetch Hetchy Cañon in 1890 by Landscape Artist Albert Bierstadt. 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