sierra club policy on hetch hetchy
AS ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
27 September 1987
HETCH HETCHY AND THE GRAND CANYON OF THE TUOLUMNE
In 1907, a committee of Directors of the Sierra Club (authorized by the full Board and chaired by John Muir) adopted a detailed Sierra Club policy statement about the reservation of the Hetch Hetchy Valley, within Yosemite National Park.
Muir and his colleagues found Hetch Hetchy to be "a counterpart to Yosemite [Valley] and a great and wonderful feature of the Park, only next to Yosemite [Valley] in beauty, grandeur, and importance..."
Having walked there -- and no one has since 1923 -- these Directors said "the floor of Hetch Hetchy, like that of Yosemite [Valley] is a beautiful landscape park diversified by magnificent groves, gardens, and flowery meadows in charming combinations especially adapted for pleasure-camping..."
Of the then-threat of the damming of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, the Directors said "no greater damage could be done to the great National Park, excepting the damming of Yosemite [Valley] itself..." The committee put the Sierra Club on record as "opposed to the use of Hetch Hereby Valley as a reservoir site ..."
That Hetch Hetchy was dammed, after passage of the Raker Act in 1913, was an event of profound impact on the Sierra Club and the nation's then - young conservation movement.
That this wild, superlative National Park canyon would be forever dammed is unthinkable. Rectifying this disastrous error of the past and allowing the forces of nature to restore the "magnificent groves, gardens, and flowery meadows" of Hetch Hetchy, would be the act of a wiser, more sober society, proving itself better aware of the true values of wilderness, and exhibiting a clearer vision of the needs of the future.
Therefore, the Board of Directors of the Sierra Club, meeting early 90 years after the Hetch Hetchy battle erupted, reaffirms the commitment of the Sierra Club to continue its battle for Hetch Hetchy, remembering the words William Colby wrote to Gifford Pinchot in 1909:
"Let me assure you that we have only begun fight, and we are not going to rest until we have established the principle 'that our National parks shall be hold forever inviolate,' and until we have demonstrated to the satisfaction of every one, including yourself, that the American people stand for that principle. We are going to keep up the good fight without fear or favor, 'if it shall take until doomsday.'
The Sierra Club reaffirms its policy adopted in 1907 and 1910, and continues its historic and fundamental opposition to the damming of the Tuloumne River in Yosemite National Park, We welcome initiatives toward the restoration of the free-flowing Tuolumne River and Hetch Hetchy Valley.
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