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Mono Basin, Hetch Hetchy

September 08, 1987

Finally, 75 years after John Muir, we are hearing cries of "De-Dam the Hetch Hetchy!" Absurd? Unrealistic? Not at all. It is a bold, ambitious, responsible and timely idea.

The restored valley with its uniquely beautiful cliffs and waterfalls will be an awe-inspiring monument to everyone involved in facilitating its reprieve from permanent condemnation. We all will share in the rich reward.

San Francisco has enjoyed the water and power benefits for over 60 years. It is time to give the valley back to Yosemite National Park, back to all of us. The city's investment in the 1910s and 1920s has long since been repaid many, many times over. There are no valid reasons that this supposedly environmentally concerned community should continue to indefinitely exploit a priceless and unique natural resource.

There exist other resources of water and power. There is nothing, however, to replace the natural grandeur of this Tuolumne River Valley which rivals Yosemite Valley, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone's geysers, Niagara Falls and the other natural wonders of our world. How absurd to destroy even one of these national treasures! We did so in a relatively unenlightened era. Now we have the opportunity to begin to correct a serious misdeed.

To Hodel: "Bravo!" To San Francisco Mayor Feinstein: your self-serving, unyielding and unimaginative attitude is shameful. To others in a position make this notion a reality--and to all of us: Now is the time to use our influence and efforts to restore Hetch Hetchy to its natural and more valuable state.

This is not an issue just for environmentalist fanatics or for serious back-country naturalists, of which I am neither. It is an issue of substantial importance to all of us who value our world, respect its beauty and occasionally have the opportunity to enjoy its treasures.

It was wrong to ever dam Hetch Hetchy; now is the time to reverse this transgression against nature. If not now, then when?


West Covina

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