What is the meaning of the flooding of the Hetch Hetchy Valley?
Albert Bierstadt's landscape painting of Yosemite Valley, (1864) Oil on canvas.
Ideas that shaped this important controversy over protecting parks, land, and water in the West.
Catlin – conceived of the national park idea as a place for wild people and wild animals.
Thoreau – he proposed protection for acres of forests in every township.
Olmsted – proposed in 1862 the reservation of the entire Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Big Trees.
Muir – wrote about the place as a temple of GodÕs creation with the command to steward the park.
A fight to save the Mariposa, Big Trees, Tuolumne Meadows & the valley
City of San FranciscoÕs water needs
The Sierra Club – Franklin K. Lane's role as an educated attorney
Gifford Pinchot, chief forester, Biltmore restoration, conservation
The Biltmore Estate forest restored by Pinchot in the 1880s from a North Carolina plantation.
Forests as timber crops: sustained yield forestry = board feet lumber
Water as acre feet for irrigation and reservoir capacity for electricity
Fisheries as renewable sources of food, medicine, and cosmetics
In the 1860s Albert Bierstadt's painting of Hetch Hetchy Valley captures the "historical memory" of what was flooded.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, PG&E, private corporation; stocks & bonds
Public power movement – private monopoly of water and electricity is bad
John MuirÕs crusade for the sanctity of creation, submits to a higher law.
Absolutism – the belief in definable values that you do not compromise
Meliorist and zoning – the definable values can coexist with progress
1913 and the decision to flood Hetch Hetchy Valley to provide San Francisco City and County with water and power supplies.
Theodore Roosevelt & John Muir in the park with Yosemite Falls in the background.
The schism in the movement to protect the environment fractures into:
Parks protection, [National Forests, Parks]
Wildlife refuge,s [National Wildlife Refuges]
Archaeological protection, [National Monuments]
Reclamation [Newlands Act & creation of the Bureau of Reclamation]
Public power (electricity cooperatives)
"Flows: approximately November through July, with peak flow in May. Yosemite Falls, one of the world's tallest, is actually made up of three separate falls: Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet)."
United States National Park Service