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 V.
Mr. Smith. I assume that you know what substantial water rights exist on those streams before you go in there and spend some millions of money?
Mr. Manson. No, sir. We would store water and use it. If we interfere with any private rights or corporate rights, those would have to be established and determined by the courts of the State of California.
Mr. Smith. I suppose you would know in advance, or you know at this time, whether there are any such?
Mr. Manson. I know of none that we would interfere with at all.
Mr. Smith. I assume that if there are any you know it. You are not going into his scheme without knowing what there is before you in the way of adverse rights to the water?
Mr. Manson. There are, that I know of, rights on the middle fork of the Tuolumne River which are in no way interested in this, rights on the south fork of the Tuolumne River which are in no way affected by this, and at the points of diversion to the city of those stored waters and the use of those waters I know of no rights whatever that could interfere with the city's use of the water supply.
Mr. Smith. Would the use contemplated by this resolution, the exclusive use, interfere in any way with those water rights which you say have been located on the middle and south forks?
Mr. Manson. Not to the slightest degree. They are another fork entirely and out of any reach.
The Chairman. Mr. Secretary, I have not read carefully the decision granting this right of way. I assume, however, that all rights to the development of water power contemplate nothing more than such development as might be had with water as it comes over the dam?
Secretary Garfield. That is all.
The Chairman. Of course, the city would have a right of develop whatever head and power might be developed in that way?
Secretary Garfield. Yes.
The Chairman. On the question that the gentleman from California has just raised, I want to call the attention of the Committee to a telegram which I received, as the chairman of the committee, on December 14:
Hon. Frank W. Mondell,
National Park Electric Power Company protests against granting to city of San Francisco any preferential or other rights which conflict with its rights to use the waters flowing in the Tuolumne River, California. Said company has expended about $40,000 in perfecting its said rights and will in no wise interfere with said city's proposed use of said waters for municipal uses. Only conflict possible would be use by said city in generating power by said city for sale outside of said city, and that would be beyond its charter powers. Any bill granting said city rights should contain clause subjecting such rights to pending applications or accrued rights on said river.
Secretary Garfield. This pending resolution has nothing to do with that whatever.
The Chairman. Are there any members of the committee who desire to make any further interrogations in regard to the matter?
Mr. Robinson. I would like to know something about the terms of the resolution itself. I have had little opportunity to examine it. I see a number of "Whereases" prefixed, and I would like to know whether, in the opinion of the gentlemen who have investigated, this resolution is properly expressed?
Mr. Kahn. The resolution was drawn by the law officer of the Department of the Interior.
Mr. Robinson. That is what I wanted to know.
Secretary Garfield. The resolution as drawn conforms to the terms of the permit as set forth in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the terms of the permit providing for the exchange of the lands on the floor of the valley for those lying outside of and within the park and forest-
Mr. Kahn. Mr. Woodruff drew the resolution?
Secretary Garfield. I believe so; it came from his office, at any rate.
Mr. Robinson. Unless some gentleman present wants to make a further statement regarding the matter, I think, as far as I am concerned, I am ready to proceed to dispose of the resolution.
The Chairman. I think there are some gentlemen who desire to interrogate Mr. Manson in regard to the matter briefly. Mr. Englebright represents the district in California in which the Hetch Hetchy valley is located. Would you care to interrogate Mr. Manson in regard to this matter or make any statement in regard to it, Mr. Englebright?
Mr. Englebright. I will make a brief statement, and then I would like to ask a few questions of Mr. Manson. My position in this matter is that I have no opposition whatever to San Francisco obtaining all the rights that it needs and requires in connection with this water supply in Hetch Hetchy Valley. I have not given this subject consideration until the last couple of days, and did not know that there was going to be hearing on it, but as this Hetch Hetchy Valley is in my district, and as all the talk heretofore has been between the interested parties, there are just a few points that I want to bring out.
One is, that this land that is spoken of is partly in the national park and partly out of it in a national forest reserve, or a national forest. As I understand it, Mr. Manson, the two blue tracts of land on the southwest corner are in the forest reserve and not in the park?
Mr. Manson. They are now in the forest reserve. At the time these negotiations were conducted they were a part of the national park, the line having been shifted some 6 miles or more to the east after these negotiations were inaugurated, and, being in the same ownership, it would be necessary to acquire it. In approaching the park and traveling from one portion of it to another the trails and direct lines of approach lie through these two tracts, formerly in the national park, now in the immediate adjacent national reserve, so that they were, first of all, acquired, the negotiations included them for the reason I have stated, and they are on the lines of the movement of visitors to the park, who always camp on them whenever it is found convenient.
Mr. Englebright. Very recently I have had, right in that immediate locality, some very from the people there in regard to forest reserves. This land, being in private ownership, is taxable by the county, whether it is in a national park or in the forest reserve. That is correct, is it, Mr. Manson?
Mr. Manson. All private property in the State is taxable.
Mr. Englebright. Can you tell me, Mr. Manson, what this property is assessed for at the present time?
Mr. Manson. I can not.
Mr. Englebright. There is one proposition there-
The Chairman. There are about 800 acres of it.
Mr. Englebright. I do not know what it is assessed for. To my idea of this matter, this could be reached in better shape and preserve the rights of the public than with this bill. If the city of San Francisco would deed to the National Government all their rights to the lands in Hetch Hetchy Valley, then an easement could be given to the city of San Francisco which would fully protect them and leave everything in shape. That would not mix up these outside interests, and that would leave the complete control of that whole section of country in the hands of the Secretary of the Interior as a national park. It would also protect the public. As it is a lake, it will be one of great natural beauty. There will be fine fishing in it and boating, and so on, which would make to that extent the lake an improvement to the park, but I do not think the bill as it stands now protects the people sufficiently in that line. There is also a question of roads and accessibility that should be considered in that line. My idea of that subject is that there should be a little careful consideration to questions along that line before final action is taken.
Mr. Volstead. I do not know whether there is a trail along the side of the valley, but if there is, would that trail be submerged in water in case there is a reservoir made there?
Mr. Manson. Let me have that question.
Mr. Volstead. I say, will the storage of the water in that valley prevent the use of the trail?
Mr. Manson. The trail passing through the valley?
Mr. Volstead. Yes.
Mr. Manson. Yes, sir; of course.
Mr. Volstead. Is that a trail built by the Government?
Mr. Manson. No, sir; but it is a trail improved by the Government. That trail has been in existence and use, and I passed over it frequently prior to the Government's doing anything whatever upon it.
Mr. Volstead. Would not the Government be called upon to rebuild that trail in some other location higher up in the valley?
Mr. Manson. Unless in the regulations imposed by the Secretary of the Interior it should be prescribed that the city should build it.
Mr. Volstead. Is there any provision for that in this contract?
Mr. Manson. I suggested it; but it could be done, sir, under the control the Secretary has.
Mr. Volstead. I do not know anything about the situation out there, but I happened to see a few mountain trails that I thought cost some money.
Mr. Manson. Some of them cost enormous sums. Three or four thousand dollars a mile is frequently expended on some of them.
Secretary Garfield. In looking that over I saw very clearly that with the lines that were suggested by the city engineer, abutting that area, there would be ample space left for the construction of a road along the edge of the lake, and under the terms of that permit those must be constructed by the city or in conformity of the order of the Secretary of the Interior in such manner as he may determine.
Mr. Chairman. Do you think the stipulations of the permit are broad enough to cover that?
Mr. Manson. I have no doubt that that would be one of the conditions which could and should be imposed on a final construction of the department.
Mr. Volstead. Unless there is some specific provision, I should judge from the reading of that resolution that the city would become absolute owners of that property as soon as they commenced to construct their reservoir.
Secretary Garfield. They would, so far as those particular lands are concerned, but the further conditions of the permit require that in the general use of the valley outside of these lands, as for the construction of the dam and the erection of the park, they must conform to all rules and regulations and conditions that the Secretary of the Interior may make.
Mr. Volstead. Yes, but that is not a part of the resolution.
Secretary Garfield. It is not a part of the resolution for the reason that the resolution is dealing with simply those provisions of the permit that had to do with the exchange of the land, and the resolution does not in any way attempt to change, modify, or add to that permit. It simply is an attempt to carry out section 1 and, I believe, section 2 of the permit, which have to do with the exchange of the land.
Mr. Kahn. The grant, Mr. Secretary, which you made, is under certain provisions of existing law which give you the power to make a grant, reserving certain rights to the Government and imposing certain conditions upon the receiver of the land?
Secretary Garfield. Quite right.