About ten years ago three friends and I hiked part of the PCT and visited Yosemite. The book I packed along for the trip was John Muir’s Yosemite. Cliche? Perhaps. Good book? Yes.
I was totally awestruck by the beauty of the Yosemite valley, it really can’t be described in words. It must be experienced in person. But the fact that Mr. Muir used equal weight, reverence and awe when describing the Hetch Hetchy to me was astounding. Because I knew that the Hetch Hetchy was under water. Now, the under water part can be fixed.
San Franciscans can vote to drain the Hetch Hetchy and right a wrong over 100 years in the making. Here’s more. What a strange bunch of bedfellows this has… please ignore party lines and just pull the plug.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CALIF. — This fall San Franciscans will vote on a local measure with national implications: It could return to the American people a flooded gorge described as the twin of breathtaking Yosemite Valley.
Voters will decide whether they want a plan for draining the 117-billion-gallon Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park, exposing for the first time in 80 years a glacially carved, granite-ringed valley of towering waterfalls 17 miles north of its more famous geologic sibling.
The November ballot measure asks: Should city officials devise a modern water plan that incorporates recycling and study expansion of other storage reservoirs to make up the loss?
The measure could eventually undo a controversial century-old decision by Congress that created the only reservoir in a national park and slaked the thirst of a city 190 miles away.
The battle over Hetch Hetchy, first waged unsuccessfully by naturalist John Muir, had turned the Sierra Club from an outdoors group into an environmental powerhouse. The fight gained momentum in recent years when unlikely allies joined forces.
On one side are Republican lawmakers and environmentalists, including Ronald Reagan’s former interior secretary, who want the dam removed and valley restored. On the other are Democratic San Franciscans, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, fighting to hold onto the city’s famously pure drinking water in a drought-prone state.
“Eventually it will be broadly understood what an abomination a reservoir in a valley like Yosemite Valley really is,” Donald Hodel, the former interior chief, told The Associated Press. “I think it will be hard to quell this idea (of restoration). It is like ideas of freedom in a totalitarian regime. Once planted they are impossible to repress forever.”