Adapted from Hetch Hetchy Restoration Task Force bulletin

"Dam Hetch Hetchy? As well dam for water-tanks the people's cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heartof man." --John Muir

    Mention Hetch Hetchy Valley to Sierra Club members and their response is immediate: a heartfelt feeling of deep sadness for what has been lost and a fervent hope that what has been lost can somehow be regained. Probably no environmental issue symbolizes the Sierra Club's historical role in protecting the Earth's natural wonders like its efforts to preserve and restore Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.
    Following a fierce nationwide debate led by John Muir and Will Colby of the Sierra Club, San Francisco was authorized by Congress in 1913 to construct a dam and reservoir on the Tuolumne River in Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park, to provide water and electrical power.
    John Muir, the first president of the Sierra Club, spoke of Hetch Hetchy as "a wonderfully exact counterpart" of Yosemite Valley, and therefore "oneof nature's rarest and most precious mountain temples."
    In 1987, following Secretary of the Interior Donald Hodel's proposal to restore Hetch Hetchy Valley, the Sierra Club's Board of Directors reaffirmed its "historic and fundamental opposition to the damming of the Tuolumne River.” It called upon “all interests to take an open minded, long view of this issue, and to study and assess alternatives to meeting their needs and concerns through alternative sources of water, power and revenues.”
    Hetch Hetchy Valley in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River is one of only six such magnificent mountain valleys in the world. It should be restored to its natural condition in order to be available for public enjoyment, to be reintegrated into its natural ecological and biological systems, and toprovide for scientific exploration. It also should be restored in order to preserve the integrity and inviolate status of our National Parks.
    Now, the Sierra Club's Hetch Hetchy Restoration Task Force is spearheading the renewed effort to restore Hetch Hetchy Valley. To get more information and learn what you can do, contact the Section’s Conservation Chair Elaine Soost or Ron Good, Chair of the Hetch Hetchy Restoration Task Force, PO Box 289,Yosemite, CA 95389; (209) 372-8785; rongood@; or visit the Task Force’s website at
    Thanks for your help! Together, we can, as John Muir said, "do something to make the mountains glad."


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