San Francisco, California
December 16, 1908
Chairman of Public Lands Committee
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.:
The Yosemite National Park was created in order that the unrivaled aggregation of scenic features of this great natural wonderland should be preserved in pure wildness for all time for the benefit of the entire nation, and Hetch Hetchy Valley is a counterpart of Yosemite; and a great and wonderful feature of the park, next to Yosemite in beauty, grandeur, and importance, is the floor of Hetch Hetchy, which, like that of Yosemite, is a beautiful landscape park, diversified by magnificent groves, gardens, and flowery meadows in charming combinations specially adapted for pleasure camping, and this wonderful valley is the focus of pleasure travel in the large surrounding area of the park, and all the trails from both the south and the north lead into and through this magnificent camp ground, and though now accessible only by trails it is visited by large numbers of campers and travelers every summer, and after a wagon road has been made into it and its wonders become better known it will be visited by countless thousands of admiring travelers from all parts of the world.
If dammed and submerged as proposed, Hetch Hetchy would be rendered utterly inaccessible for travel, since no road could be built around the borders of the reservoir without tunneling through solid granite cliffs, and these camp grounds would be destroyed and access to other important places to the north and south of the valley interfered with, and the high Sierra gateway of the sublime Tuolumne Canyon leading up to the ground central camp ground of the upper Tuolumne Valley would be completely blocked and closed. Such use would defeat the purpose and nullify the effect of the law creating the park. The proponents of the San Francisco water scheme desire the use of Hetch Hetchy not because water as pure and abundant can not be obtain elsewhere, but because, as they themselves admit, the cost would be less, for there are fourteen sources of supply available. We do not believe that the vital interests of the nation at large should be sacrificed and so important a part of its national park destroyed to save a few dollars for local interests. Therefore we are opposed to the use of Hetch Hetchy Valley as a reservoir site as unnecessary, as impartial investigation will demonstrate.
C. T. Parson
J. N. Leconte
Wm. F. Bade
Directors of the Sierra Club