Monday, October 15, 2012


There used to be two separate Yosemites. This composite photo circa 1900 depicts the Hetch Hetchy Valley that was flooded under waters to a level of over half way up those majestic mountains and waterfalls, drowned by the O'Shaughnessy Dam built in the 1920s. Southern California was not the only water pirate in our state's history: this is the infamy of Northern California. 

John Muir and his nascent Sierra Club fought the municipal project for seven years and lost, as did we all. Dammed and damned (the headline at top refers to another water rights squabble ending badly in the film Chinatown.) Click above photo to see a panoramic enlargement of the full, beauteous valley floor.

Post script: San Francisco voted against planning even to consider restoration of the Hetch Hetchy Valley in their November 2012 civic elections despite many proposed, realistic plans on file that would retain the same amount of S.F. civic water. Too bad for our entire planet that S.F. still called the shots on what was, after all, once inside actual Federal, not State, parklands.

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