San Francisco and the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. Hearing held before the committee on the Public Lands of the House of Representatives, December 16, 1908, on House Joint Resolution 184 - Part III.
Mr. Manson. The use of those lands depends entirely on the Department of the Interior approving the grant after the conditions are fulfilled, and that is one of the conditions both of the title and the grant under this resolution. That is a condition of the title.
Mr. Smith. But it is not a fee title, then?
Mr. Manson. Yes, sir; and we wish a fee title for this purpose. We will have to expend $40,000,000 or $50,000,000 in developing this storage. If we attempt to make a bond issue upon the terms of a revocable permit, as described under the law of February 15, 1901, objections could be made to the sale of those bonds upon the ground that the issue was based on a merely revocable permit.
The Chairman. What you desire to do, as I understand it, is to secure legislation under which the title to all of the lands included in the reservoir site shall be the same. In other words, you have now a fee to approximately half of the lands to be submerged?
Mr. Manson. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. You desire a fee to the remainder of the lands which will be submerged and propose to exchange lands with the Government for the purpose of acquiring that fee. You would have no objection, however, to having the granting of the fee dependent upon such action by the city as would assure the Secretary of the Interior before the grant was made that the city was to build, and would build, and maintain the reservoir?
Mr. Manson. To have what, sir?
The Chairman. I say, you would have no objection to having the granting of the face or having the exchange of the lands dependent upon your submitting satisfactory proof to the Secretary that you intend to and will build and maintain this reservoir?
Mr. Manson. Absolutely; certainly not, sir. Our necessities compel the development of some great storage reservoir, and it would be recognized throughout our entire voting population, which recently voted 6 to 1 in favor of this development, that it is a necessity that we have to meet. We cannot develop, we can not grow, and you will find in the terms of the grant by the Secretary of the Interior that very point guarded. It gives absolute control of that area, not only what we purchased but the remainder of it as the park usage dictates and requires, until such time as the necessities of its development shall arrive and be actually accomplished, and the people have voted in favor of such a thing already by a vote of 6 to 1, and more. Moreover, in the latter part of the joint resolution, No. 184, is a provision that the deeds of the exchanges of patents, or whatever instruments may be necessary and prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior in making this exchange, shall contain a stipulation to that effect.
Mr. Robinson. Are there any vested private rights affected by this proposed legislation?
Mr. Manson. None whatever that I know of, sir. It is exclusively applied to the storage of water in those particular areas under the laws of the State of California, which permit the storage of floodwaters when one has an area on which to store them.
Mr. Robinson. What is the area of the land which you propose to exchange for those within the valley, the total area?
Mr. Manson. We have not been able to demark that exactly yet, sir, because the matters have not been perfected to that extent, but that will probably be demarked under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior; but whatever that is, it will be acre for acre for lands such as are indicated there in blue as under the ownership of the city.
Mr. Ferris. Do I understand that the city of San Francisco owns those four ranches that you mentioned?
Mr. Manson. Yes, sir.
Mr. Ferris. And those are the tracts of land that you propose to exchange for the land that you want to flood?
Mr. Manson. Exactly, sir.
Mr. Craig. But not all those areas are inside of the park?
Mr. Manson. They are all inside the old park lines, which have been modified since these arrangements were instituted, and the park line has been shifted some 6 miles to the east of where it was originally, and two of those areas are in that limit, but they are in the immediate adjacent forest reserve and are very desirable camping grounds, utilized on all occasions when people pass in and out in trains passing through them. The other two areas are within the park limits, and the Tiltill Valley, which is off slightly to the northeast is one of the most beautiful valleys. The superintendent of the park, Major Benson, always goes up in there at lease twice a summer. I have seen him en route there twice myself. He takes his equipage and stays up in there and handles his business from that point, because of its superior location and beautiful surroundings, and on account of the small places for camping and keeping horses it is one of the most attractive an well-
Mr. Howland. Is there any corresponding value of these different lands which you propose to exchange? Is there any difference in the market value, or is there any market value?
Mr. Manson. There was no difference when purchased. We paid $150,000 for the entire tract, and there was no difference made and none is made in the prices between those in the floor of the Hetch Hetchy Valley and those in the Tiltill Valley, those in the Caon ranch, those in the Hog ranch, and those in the Middle Fork homestead. A lump sum was paid for them, and the same price was paid for this little are shaded in red, as you will see from the legend on the map, or it was agreed to be paid and part is paid already, so that those lands were acquired under the terms-
The Chairman. If none of the members of the committee care to interrogate Mr. Manson any further, I think perhaps it would be well at this point to hear from the Secretary, and I think there will be some questions we would like to ask of him.
Mr. Gronna. As I understand it, the lands that are marked in red and blue are lands that are owned by individuals; is that correct?
Mr. Manson. They were owned by individuals under patents granted by the Government prior to the setting apart of the area as a national park, but now are owned by the city, and the deeds in escrow are held and the payments have been made, over $150,000, upon them.
The Chairman. If none of the members of the committee care to interrogate Mr. Manson any further now, I think perhaps it would be well at this point to hear from the Secretary in regard to the general question.