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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 VIII.

Committee on the Public Lands,
House of Representatives.

Gentlemen: As a citizen of the United States I wish to record my opposition to the pending bill confirming the grant of the Hetch Hetchy Valley and other portions of the Yosemite National Park to the city of San Francisco, executed May 11, 1908.

Exception to this grant is to be taken upon two grounds:

  • (1) That in making the grant the Secretary of the Interior, even if it be considered that he has acted within the authority conferred upon him in the matter of water rights in the Yosemite National Park by the act of February 15, 1901, has failed to give the weight to the public interest for which the national park was created; and,
  • (2) That the grant, considered on its own merits, ought not to be confirmed, because (a) The Hetch Hetchy is not necessary to the city of San Francisco as a source of water supply; and (b) the grant is incompatible with the public interest as related to the national park; and (c) the precedent involved is one which might be invoked to the impairment or destruction of a large part of what has been gained for the public in the creation of our great national parks.

Let me say at the outset that, as I have elsewhere testified, I regard the service of the President in the matter of the conservation of the national forests and other resources as the most distinguished achievement of his incumbency and as of colossal importance and value to our country. It is only in this grant of national territory for the uses of a city that I find anything to criticise in the record of the administration in this field.

First, on the question of jurisdiction: On Saturday, December 12, 1908, Chief Justice James T. Mitchell, of the State of Pennsylvania, addressing the Pennsylvania Society in New York said:

"* * * the only safety for all is obedience to law as it is written, not to a strained and distorted construction for temporary view to make it mean what it does not and was never intended to mean, but honestly and fearlessly to carry out the real meaning of its makers."

I respectfully submit that the action of the administration in making this grant is based in a strained and technical construction of the authority of the Secretary of the Interior conferred by the act of Congress of February 15, 1901, authorizing the Secretary to exercise jurisdiction in the matter of water privileges within certain territory including the Yosemite National Park. I believe that the Congress regarded the water privileges mentioned in that act to bear a minor, casual, and incidental relation to the park, and that it is a violent construction of the language of the act to assume that it would authorize the virtual diversion of one-half of this great reservation from public use and recreation, greatly to the detriment of the public enjoyment of the magnificent scenery. The Hetch Hetchy Valley, of which I have the pleasure to submit herewith a series of 20 photographs, is only a less wonderful Yosemite, and if the Secretary is empowered by the act to divert and withdraw from public use the former (with, of course, the watersheds above it) he has also the power to do the same with the Yosemite itself, and, on a similar demand, with any portion of any public property named in the act. That the Congress did not intend to give the Secretary unlimited power is clearly indicated by the insertion of the phrase "if not incompatible with the public interest," meaning of course the public interest already provided for in the creation of the park, namely, the preservation of the great scenery and the use of the territory for the recreation of the people.

Suppose that the act of 1901 had explicitly conferred upon the Secretary entire control of the question of fences, would he be considered as acting within his authority if he had permitted fences to be built which would exclude the public from approach to this beautiful valley? And yet, virtually, that is what will be accomplished when we follow the rights thus conveyed by the Secretary to their logical results. For you can not grant a river or a valley for a reservoir without excluding the public from use of the watersheds which feed it. Confirm the grant and you have diverted from public use one-half the great Yosemite National Park, which is now as large as the State of Rhode Island! Let there be no illusion; the grant will withdraw this proportion of the park from the use and recreation of the public.

Many instances must occur to inexperienced legislators of attempts to control large public properties by laying a foundation for a technical construction of passages of subordinate and minor intent-in fact, a great part of the duty of the legislator of to-day is to scrutinize provisions wherein "more is meant than meets the ear." I do not know whether the act of 1901 was advocated with the expectation that it might be appealed to as a means of securing the Hetch Hetchy as a water supply for San Francisco or whether that appeal is an afterthought following upon the disaster of 1906, which aroused the sympathies of the civilized world. Whatever may be the fact in this regard, I believe that the Congress of 1901 had no idea that the bestowal of authority to deal with water privileges for which it was legislating would ever endanger the integrity of the great National Park, against the creation of which by act of October 1, 1890, I believe not a vote was recorded. The purpose of that legislation, which was originated, forwarded, and personally proposed to the Public Lands Committee by myself in close consultation with John Muir, the act itself being drawn later by Charles D. Poston, was to save the forests from destruction, to give access to the wonderful cataract of the Tuolumne River, to protect the scenery of the great Yosemite water-falls, and to keep the region for the use an recreation of the people, and the Committee recommended it for those reasons. It remains for you, gentlemen, to determine whether this honorable and patriotic purpose shall be thwarted by means of a technical construction of law, and for a purpose which may be better attained without this sacrifice. Can it for a moment be assumed that any authority which the Congress might see fit to delegate to a Niagara Falls commission in the matter of the distribution of power could be construed to authorize the diversion of the Niagara River so as virtually to destroy the scenic beauty of the cataract? The mind revolts at such a calamity, yet no less violence would be done to the sense of proportion or to the ordinary methods of interpretation in the case of the Hetch Hetchy.

In general, is there not a great danger to our institutions in giving sanction by confirmatory acts to such interpretations, made under no stress of emergency, as when an official is called upon to act suddenly for some overwhelming public good? This grant was made while the Congress was still in session, and in the face of strong opposition. Were it not better that executive officials should be held to a stricter observance of the spirit as well as of the letter of the law? To act within the technical letter of the law is a safeguard, but to consider the letter as authorizing action not in the spirit of the law is leaving too much to private interpretation.

(a) Leaving the question of the authority of an executive officer, which need only be stated to excite the interest of every member of the legislative branch of the Government, and considering the grant on its merits, let me record my belief-which is also that of many distinguished and prominent citizens of San Francisco-that the lands and waters granted to the city are not necessary to provide an abundant supply of pure water. Nor, as stated above, does the Secretary so claim, though the ceding of public property for such a purpose could only be justified on that ground. It is not necessity but convenience that is invoked. It is not only not demonstrated, it is not even claimed, by the Secretary that the Hetch Hetchy region is the only available source, or even the best, but simply that it is "a desirable and available" source. But the opponents claim-and they have the authority of engineers-that there are several other available sources of equal capacity and quality. Moreover, it is claimed by the Spring Valley Water Company, which is now the chief purveyor of water to the city, that it has power to furnish to the city all the supply needed within the next fifty years, and that it can develop enough to more than meet later demands. The claim that San Francisco must needs have the help of the Government to relieve it of the incubus of a monopoly falls to the ground when it is remembered that the water rates are not fixed by the company, but by the courts. The question seems to be whether the company will sell its rights to the city at a price satisfactory to the promotors of the Hetch Hetchy scheme, and there can be no doubt that the preliminary success of this scheme is being used as an argument by some newspapers to induce the company to come to terms and that many of the opponents of the scheme think it was instituted for that purpose. The public, outside of California, has no special interest in the negotiations except as the integrity of the national park is involved.

The charge is made by responsible persons that an additional motive for desiring the grant is the hope that ultimately the surplus water may be available for electrical power for the city. The terms of the grant now explicitly deny this advantage, but it is more than an open secret-it is a subject of public discussion in San Francisco-that once the Congress is committed to the scheme by the confirmation of the grant, it will be petitioned to remove the safeguards which the Secretary has thrown about everything but the forests. It will be asked to grant the use of surplus water for electrical power to the city; it will be asked to remove the order of precedence in use, so that Hetch Hetchy may be taken before Lake Eleanor, etc.

(B) I believe that the grant is "incompatible with the public interest" as related to the national park. I have already cited the ominous fact that the whole northern half of the park must be given over to the jurisdiction of the city-an imperium in inperio-and that the city may exclude tourists, campers, and visitors with animals, in short, the public generally, from the magnificent scenery. The beautiful Tuolumne meadows running up to the base of the glacier summits of the Sierra-a most attractive camping ground and center of excurisons-must be for the republic as though they did not exist. The water-wheel cascades of the Tuolumne above the valley-one of the half-dozen great waterfalls of the world-may no longer be freely visited. The charming Tuolumne Fall at the head of the Hetch Hetchy will simply be extinguished by the creation of a valley reservoir. Last of all, the valley itself is to be wiped out of existence, and a tame expanse of water, the work of man, substituted for the exquisite and wonderful handiwork of God. The coolness with which these gentlemen endeavor to forestall the feeling of revolt against this desecration by saying that they propose to improve upon this exquisite creation of delight and repose is little short of blasphemy. They do not care-even if they reflect upon it-that the sublimity of such great scenery is made evident and is accelerated by the contrast between rugged peaks and cliffs on one hand and the gentle levels of mingled meadow, grove, and stream, of the sort that Wordsworth found-

Appareled in celestial light
The glory and the freshness of a dream.

This is in keeping with the vandalism of certain commissioners in the old days of the mismanagement of the Yosemite Valley who wished to cut out all the underbrush so that the guests at the Coleman House might know when the stage was coming, not knowing, benighted souls! that the underbrush was the unit of measurement even of Sentinel Rock, nearly 3,000 feet high, leading the mind by successive steps, from tree to taller and still taller trees, to a realization of the vast heights of that sublime mass. Let there be no illusion about the fate of Hetch Hetchy; it can not be submerged and retained; it can not be submerged and restored. The forests not only of the valley but of the neighboring region will be destroyed in the course of the construction of the proposed dam. Even the lake can not be seen from the precipitous walls of the canyon, and if could it would be a thing of unsightly border and artificial aspect. Satan himself would never have dared play such tricks with the Garden of Eden.

I protest in the name of all lovers of beauty-and in the case of rare, of phenomenal beauty-against the materialistic idea that there must be something wrong about a man who finds one of the highest uses of nature in the fact that it is made to be looked at. Such so-called practical men would have their days full correcting the mistakes of the Almighty in this respect. I call your attention to the fact that the great public-those who visit the park, and those who may visit it- have now nobody to look to but the Congress in defense of their rights in a wonderful reservation set apart for the use of all the people- indeed, of the whole world. The current trend of public opinion is unmistakably and overwhelmingly in favor of conserving what we have of natural beauty. The municipal government can destroy in six months the wondrous attraction which it has taken nature unnumbered centuries to produce. Were its destruction necessary to save the there would be a reason for it, but audacity itself would not go so far as to make such a claim. Let San Francisco go elsewhere for water-to regions where it can be had in abundance and of pure quality without the destruction of one of God's masterpieces.

(c) I beg this honorable committee also to pause and reflect how far- reaching and perilous is the precedent set by this action of Secretary Garfield. It places the great treasures of scenery, the care of which should be a trust for the civilized world, at the mercy of any similar demand. The whole country is aroused to our wastefulness and neglect of such treasures, and the whole country, when it comes to understand the meaning of this bill, will be shocked at the proposition to throw to the wolves so fair an offspring of Creation as the Hetch Hetchy. As one who has spent twenty years of unremitting work on the conservation side of the forest problem, I beg this committee not to throw its influence on the destructive side. In his message of the current month the President has set up the right standard both for his own action and that of the country in saying of the Yellowstone Park: "This, like the Yosemite, is a great wonderland, and should be kept as a national playground. In both all wild things should be protected and the scenery kept wholly unmarred."

All of which is respectfully submitted.
Robert Underwood Johnston.


[By John Muir, author of "The Mountains of California," "Our National Parks," etc.]

(In the Century for August, 1908, in an editorial article "A high price to pay for water,"attention was called to the grant last May by the present administration to the city of San Francisco of extensive portions of the great Yosemite National Park for use as a water supply. The agreement between the city authorities and the Government provided, among other conditions, that the-voters for San Francisco should accept the grant by a two-thirds vote; that before the valley is utilized the resources of Lake Eleanor, to the north of it and also within the park, shall first have been used and found insufficient, and that the city shall acquire all private titles within the allotted territory, which it is now engaged in doing. The acceptance of the grant was opposed on the ground that other sufficient source are available and because of the great expense of construction. The vote of the city was taken November 12, and resulted in a majority of 6 to 1 in favor of accepting the grant. We can not but feel that an unfortunate precedent has been established in the diversion of a large part of the park- with the watersheds, nearly half of it from the use of the whole public to the service of a city. It is almost as though the grant of a water- power privilege at Niagara should shut out the public from the enjoyment of the wonderful cataract.

The few photographs here shown and Mr. Muir's brief description will serve to suggest to the reader the great beauty of the valley.- The Editor. )

The fame of the Merced Yosemite has spread far and wide, while Hetch Hetchy, the Tuolumne Yosemite, has until recently remained comparatively unknown, notwithstanding it is a wonderfully exact counterpart of the famous valley. As the Merced flows in tranquil beauty through Yosemite, so does the Tuolumne through Hetch Hetchy. The floor of Yosemite is about 4,000 feet above the sea, and that of Hetch Hetchy about 3,700 while in both the walls are of gray granite, very high, and rise precipitously out of flowery gardens and groves. Furthermore the two wonderful valleys occupy the same relative positions on the flank of the Sierra, were formed by the same forces in the same kind of granite, and have similar waterfalls, sculpture, and vegetation. Hetch Hetchy lies in a northwesterly direction from Yosemite at a distance of about 18 miles, and is now easily accessible by a trail and wagon road from the Big Oak Flat road at Sequoia.

The most strikingly picturesque rock in the valley is a majestic pyramid over 2,000 feet in height, which is called by the Indians "Kolana." It is the outermost of a group like the Cathedral Rocks of Yosemite and occupies the same relative position on the south wall. Facing Kolana on the north side of the valley there is a massive sheer rock like the Yosemite El Capitan, about 1,900 feet high, and over its brow flows a stream that makes the most beautiful fall I have ever seen. The Indian name for it is Tueeulala. From the brow of the cliff it is free in the air for a thousand feet, then strikes on an earthquake talus and is broken up into a ragged network of cascades. It is in full bloom in June and usually vanished toward the end of summer. The Yosemite Bridal Veil is the only fall I know with which it may fairly be compared, but it excels even that wonderful fall in airy swaying grace of motion and soothing repose. Looking across the valley in the spring, when the snow is melting fast, Tueeulala is seen in all her glory burning in white sun fire in every fiber. Approaching the brink of the rock her waters flow swiftly, and in their first arching leap into the air a little hurried eagerness appears; but this eagerness is speedily hushed in sublime repose, and their tranquil progress to the base of the cliff is like that of downy feathers in a still room. The various fabrics into which her waters are woven are brought to view with marvelous distinctness by the instreaming sunshine. They sift and float from form to form down the face of that grand gray Capitan rock in so leisurely and unconfused a manner that one may examine their texture and patterns as one would a piece of embroidery held in the hand. Near the bottom the width of the fall is increased from about 25 feet to 100 feet and is composed of yet finer tissue, fold-air, water, and sunbeams woven into irised robes that spirits might wear.

A little to the eastward, on the same side of the valley, thunders the great Wapama or Hetch Hetchy Fall. It is the about 1,700 feet high, and is so near Tueeulala that both are in full view from the same point. Its location is similar to that of the Yosemite Fall, but its volume of water is much greater, and at times of high water may be heard at a distance of 5 or 6 miles or more. These twin falls are on branches of the same stream, but they could hardly be more unlike. Tueeulala, in sunshine, chanting soft and low like a summer breeze in the pines; Wapama, in gorge shadows, roaring and booming like an avalanche. Tueeulala whispers that the Almighty dwells in peace; Wapama is the thunder of His chariot wheels in power.

There are no other large falls in the valley. Here and there small streams, seldom noticed, come dancing down from crag to crag with bird- like song, doing what they can in the grand general harmony. The river falls about 20 feet into a surging trout pool at the head of the valley; and on Rancheria Creek, a large tributary that comes in from the northeast, there is a series of magnificent cascades, broad silver plumes like those between the Vernal and Nevada falls in Yosemite, half leaping, half sliding down smooth, open folds of the rocks covered with crisp, clashing spray, into which the sunbeams pour with glorious effect. Others shoot edgewise, through deep, narrow gorge, chafing and surging beneath rainbows in endless variety of form and tone.

The floor of the valley is about 3 miles long, half a mile wide, and is partly separated by a bar of glacier-polished granite across which the river breaks in rapids. The lower part is mostly a grassy, flowery meadow, with the trees confined to the sides and the river banks. The upper forested part is charmingly diversified with groves of the large and picturesque California live oak and the noble yellow pine, which here attains a height of more than 200 feet, growing well apart in small groves or eingly, allowing each tree to be seen in all its beauty and grandeur. Beneath them the common pteris spreads a sumptuous carpet, tufted here and there with ceanothus and manzanita bushes, azalea and brier rose, and brightened with mariposa tulips, golden-rod, tall mints, larkspurs, geraniums, etc., amid which butterflies, bees, and humming birds find rich pasturage. Near the walls, especially on the earthquake tali that occur in many place, the pines and California oak give place to the mountain live oak, which forms the shadiest and most extensive groves. The glossy foliage, densely crowded, makes a beautiful ceiling, with only a few irregular openings for the admission of sunbeams, while the pale-gray trunks and the branches, snarled and outspread in wide interlacing arches, are most impressively beautiful and picturesque. The sugar pine, sabine pine, incense cedar, silver fir, and tumion occur here and there among the oaks and yellow pines, or in cool side canyons, or scattered on the rifted wall rocks and benches. The river-bank trees are chiefly Tibocedrus, poplar, willow, alder, and flowering dogwood.

Hetch Hetchy weather is delightful and invigorating all the year. Snow seldom lies long on the floor and is never very deep. On the sunny north wall many a sheltered nook may be found embraced by sun-warmed rock bosses in which flowers bloom every month of the year. Even on the shaded south side of the valley the frost is never severe.

A good many birds winter in the valley and fill the short days with merry chatter and song. A cheerier company never sang in snow. First and best of all is the water ouzel, a dainty, dusky little bird, about the size of a robin, that sings a sweet fluty song all winter as well as in summer, and haunts the wild rapids and falls with marvelous constancy through all sorts of weather. A few robins, belated on their way down from the upper mountain meadows, make out to spend the winter here in comparative comfort, feeding on mistletoe berries. The kingfisher also winters in the valley, the golden-winged woodpecker, and the species that stores acorns in the bark of the trees, as well as jays, wrens, sparrows, and flocks of bluebirds and snowbirds, which make lively pictures in their quest for food.

Toward the end of March the sprouting grasses make the meadows green, the aments of the alders are nearly ripe, the libocedrus is sowing its pollen, willows putting forth their catkins, and a multitude of swelling buds proclaim the promise of spring. Wild strawberries are ripe in May, the early flowers are in bloom, the birds are busy in the groves, and the frog sin pools.

In June and July summer is in prime, and the tide of happy, throbbing life is at its highest. August is the peaceful season of ripe nuts and berries- raspberries, blackberries, thimbleberries, gooseberries, shadberries, currants, puckery choke cherries, pine nuts, etc., offering royal feasts to Indians, squirrels, and birds of every feather. Then comes mellow, golden Indian summer, with its gorgeous colors and falling leaves, calm, thoughtful days, when everything, even the huge rocks, seems to be hushed and expectant, awaiting the coming of winter and rest.

Excepting only Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy is the most attractive and wonderful valley within the bounds of the great Yosemite National Park and the best of all the camp grounds. People are now flocking to it in ever-increasing numbers for health and recreation of body and mind. Though the walls are less sublime in height than those of Yosemite, its groves, gardens, and broad, spacious meadows are more beautiful and picturesque. It is many years since sheep and cattle were pastured in it, and the vegetation now shows scarce a trace of their ravages. Last year in October I visited the valley with Mr. William Keith, the artist. He wandered about from view to view, enchanted, made thirty-eight sketches, and enthusiastically declared that in varied picturesque beauty Hetch Hetchy greatly surpassed Yosemite. It is one of God's best gifts and ought to be faithfully guarded.

Appalachian Mountain Club,
Boston, Mass., December 15, 1908.

Committee on the Public Lands,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

Gentlemen: Being advised that a hearing is to be granted to-morrow by your committee upon the petition of the city of San Francisco for a confirmation of a grant of flowage rights in certain valleys within the Yosemite National Park, said petition being represented by House Joint Resolution 184 dated May 12, 1908, I beg leave to herewith file with you a protest, on behalf of the Appalachian Mountain Club, against this grant and its confirmation.

Permit me to state that I have authority to thus speak on behalf of the club by virtue of a vote passed by our governing board on October 22, 1907. The matter was at that time before the Secretary of the Interior, and a formal protest was filed with him.

Allow me also to state that we are not speaking upon this subject without definite knowledge of the conditions both political and physical. Many of us have visited the Hetch Hetchy Valley, and in fact have traversed the entire length of the Tuolumne Canyon from Soda Springs meadows to Hetch Hetchy. Moreover, we have examined in detail all the printed evidence gathered upon the subject by the Hon. E. A. Hitchcock, who, as Secretary of the Interior, considered this petition in 1902; we have corresponded with the present Secretary of the Interior, with the Chief of the Forest Service, and with prominent citizens of San Francisco and other bay cities upon the matter. The writer has also had personal interviews on two or three occasions with two noted hydraulic engineers who had served as consulting authorities upon this subject of added water supply for San Francisco. We have, in short, taken the utmost pains to inform ourselves as to the merits of both sides of the case, and have kept posted constantly through all the proceedings.

It is our belief that Mr. Hitchcock took the only proper stand upon this petition. It was his endeavor to ascertain whether or no there was any public necessity which would justify him in surrendering to any community special rights which would tend to injure the natural beauties of the park. The act of October, 1890, requires the Secretary of the Interior to "provide for the preservation from injury of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders * * * and their retention in their natural condition."

It is true that the act gives him power to make grants such as that now under consideration, but only when it "is not incompatible with the public interest."

Mr. Hitchcock, after taking much testimony, decided that this was not the only reasonable source of water supply for the city, and that he was not justified, therefore, in granting flowage rights which would of necessity involve the mutilation of the natural wonders of the park.

Mr. Garfield, however, declined to rule upon the claim of the city that this was the only reasonable source of water supply, stating that in his judgment "it is sufficient that after careful and competent study the city officials insist that such is the case."

In this we feel that Mr. Garfield erred. What constitutes "careful and competent study?"

Two of the very best authorities on municipal water supply in the country were consulted by the opposing sides in this matter. For the city, Mr. Desmond Fitz Gerald, of Boston, made an examination and report. For the opposition, Mr. Frederick P. Stearns, also of this city, likewise made examination and report. Both engineers considered not only the present water supply but several proposed new supplies among others the Hetch Hetchy and Lake Eleanor watersheds. Mr. Fitz Gerald favored the Tuolumne source, while Mr. Stearns reported that the present supply with the extensions which can readily be made, is in all respects adequate for many years to come.

Was not the study of the opposition therefore equally "careful and competent?"

We would not array ourselves knowingly in opposition to granting any community a proper water supply, but we feel that here is a point of fundamental importance which should be proved beyond peradventure before the Hetch Hetchy grant is confirmed. Is the Tuolumne supply to only reasonable one for San Francisco.

The mere assertion of either side that it is or that it is not, however positively made, should not be accepted as conclusive evidence. It is our hope that your committee will avail itself of the personal testimony of the two engineers named above.

We believe that you will agree with us that the resources of our national parks should not be carelessly opened to exploitation and that you will also appreciate the importance of conserving such notable scenery as these parks contain as national assets of value. Switzerland long ago appreciated the commercial and sanitary value of scenery and legislated for its conservation to her great and lasting profit. Our people are more and more coming to appreciate the value of their national scenic treasures. The Yosemite Park is year by year visited by increasing numbers. An examination of the recent reports of the superintendent of the park will show that the tide of travel has greatly increased there since the completion of the railroad to El Portal. The hotels in the main valley are already inadequate, and camping parties find it increasingly difficult to securities.

Hetch Hetchy Valley is admitted to be a natural wonder, but little inferior to the Yosemite proper, while the Tuolumne Canyon, through which flows and plunges the main river from the great mountain meadows at Soda Springs, is one of the big natural features of the Sierra and of the park.

The old Yosemite is soon to prove inadequate in every way to keep the throngs that will journey to those mountain regions. With better roads to Soda Springs and to Hetch Hetchy the present pressure upon Yosemite will be relieved. Civil engineers who are members of this club and who have recently traveled over the trails of the park, state that it would be a comparatively simple matter to thus open up those sections to the public. The public merely awaits the facilities. With a reservoir at Hetch Hetchy one of these great camping grounds will be extinguished, and the scenery which would attract the people thence will, in our opinion, be seriously marred. We are unable to agree with those who profess to think that a vast artificial lake, subject to heavy drafts by the water users and by evaporation in dry summers, with the attendant bare and slimy shores, will prove equally attractive to those who seek relaxation amid pleasant scenes.

It is even doubtful if the users of the water would long allow the camping upon those shores of hundreds of tourists and their animals, owing to the danger of the contamination of the supply. And will not the same hold true of the camping privilege in the Tuolumne Canyon and on the mountain meadows above? The tendency of water boards everywhere is to relieve the watersheds under their care of even a suspicion of a contaminating influence.

We regret that we are unable to be personally represented at the hearing, but we trust that this letter may be allowed to go in as a part of your record, and that your committee will take no hasty action upon the petition of the city.

Allen Chamberlain,
Councillor of Exploration and Forestry.

San Francisco, Cal., December 16, 1908.

Chairman of Public Lands Committee,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.:

The Yosemite National Park was created in order that the unrivaled aggregation of scenic features of this great natural wonderland should be preserved in pure wildness for all time for the benefit of the entire nation, and Hetch Hetchy Valley is a counterpart of Yosemite; and a great and wonderful feature of the park, next to Yosemite in beauty, grandeur, and importance, is the floor of Hetch Hetchy, which, like that of Yosemite, is a beautiful landscape park, diversified by magnificent groves, gardens, and flowery meadows in charming combinations specially adapted for pleasure camping, and this wonderful valley is the focus of pleasure travel in the large surrounding area of the park, and all the trails from both the south and the north lead into and through this magnificent camp ground, and though now accessible only by trails it is visited by large numbers of campers and travelers every summer, and after a wagon road has been made into it and its wonders become better known it will be visited by countless thousands of admiring travelers from all parts of the world.

If dammed and submerged as proposed, Hetch Hetchy would be rendered utterly inaccessible for travel, since no road could be built around the borders of the reservoir without tunneling through solid granite cliffs, and these camp grounds would be destroyed and access to other important places to the north and south of the valley interfered with, and the high Sierra gateway of the sublime Tuolumne Canyon leading up to the ground central camp ground of the upper Tuolumne Valley would be completely blocked and closed. Such use would defeat the purpose and nullify the effect of the law creating the park. The proponents of the San Francisco water scheme desire the use of Hetch Hetchy not because water as pure and abundant can not be obtain elsewhere, but because, as they themselves admit, the cost would be less, for there are fourteen sources of supply available. We do not believe that the vital interests of the nation at large should be sacrificed and so important a part of its national park destroyed to save a few dollars for local interests. Therefore we are opposed to the use of Hetch Hetchy Valley as a reservoir site as unnecessary, as impartial investigation will demonstrate.
John Muir, President,
C. T. Parson,
J. N. Leconte,
Wm. F. Bade
Directors of the Sierra Club.

Sonora, Cal., December 17, 1908.

Hon. W. F. Englebright,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.,:

This county largely interested in point of diversion. If below confluence of North Fork and main Tuolumne River serious conflict will with rights, probable on account of contamination of waters from mining, lumbering, etc. Wire exact point of diversion contained in Hetch Hetchy bill. If no point of diversion stated insist on insertion as above.
T. F. McGovern,
Chairman Board Supervisors

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