|Hetchy-Hetchy meadow before dam construction in 1913|
In 1906, in a letter to President Roosevelt, Muir wrote his concern for the proposal to dam the Hetch-Hetchy valley in Yosemite. Muir discredited the argument made by banker and senator James D. Phelan that converting Hetch-Hetchy into a reservoir will simply mean transforming it into a lake instead of a meadow.
"But Hetch-Hetchy is not a meadow: it is a Yosemite Valley. These sacred mountain temples are the holiest ground that the heart of man has consecrated and it behooves us all faithfully to do our part in seeing that our wild mountain parks are passed unspoiled to those who comes after us, for they are the natural properties in which every man has a right and an interest.
I pray therefore that the people of California be granted time to be heard before this reservoir question is decided...What the public opinion of the world would be may be guessed by the case of the Niagra Falls."
|Hetch-Hetchy "lake" in 2005|
The Life and Letters of John Muir