Free Essay Sample about Hetch Hetchy Debate – John Muir

Image of nature and river forest.

Hello, I am John Muri, and I am the founder of the Sierra Club Foundation. We believe that Hetch Hetchy Valley is a wonderful palace and a natural retreat in itself. It is a glorious temple, for pilgrims to worship God’s handiworks and at the same time enjoy the mental relaxation and moral enlightenment that they experience in the valley. The importance of beauty in human development is stated to be known by a better part of the world now. Looking at it from the lowest financial standpoint, natural assets like Hetch Hetchy valley is the most productive and precious asset any county can have. (Muir, 1225:37)

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A majority of our forest has been lost to smoke and lumber, more smoke than lumber. Although, fortunately, the natural resources like steams and forests that we are left with are now being protected by the Federal government, and the development of those areas is now being taken up by the Federal government. Even in this money-mad commercial area, we have altogether forgotten our beauty resources. The magnificent wild parks in the west should be witnessed which are guarded and set apart for the advantage of all. The thousands of city parts are created to meet the urge of natural taste and hunger for the beautiful landscape the god has created for us all in the responsibility of which lies with each and every one of us in some fraction. (Muir, 1230:37)

Natural resources like water and timber are a universal want and the government is well aware of the fact it is not possible to maintain any existing scheme of management of public domain that fails to provide for them. Every natural park is besieged by robbers, thieves, and beggars who are well equipped with plans and possession pleas of some clandestine treasure of timer, water, rights of ways, etc even though we have abundant supplies of them from the legitimate sources. This confirms that nothing that is dollar able can be safe no matter how they are guarded. Therefore, the attack of spoilers in Yosemite Park which is the beauty and glory of California has been seen ever since its establishment. This strife between right and wrong, and the internal battle would forever go on. Certain monopolists and the San Fransisco board of supervisors are trying to achieve the permission of the government to dam Hetch Hetchy which will destroy the area in the course. The reservoir on Tuolumne, Yosemite Vally is being planned by them simply for their personal gains which would lead to universal public loss. (Muir, 1240:37)

If the wonderful valley is submerged as proposed, it will not only be inaccessible but the Canyon way of Toulumne to the heart of the high Sierra would be closed in a hopeless manner. No one who has visited the park so far, after being made aware of this wholly unnecessary destructive water scheme, has supported it. Only some of the statements that the applicants have made in regards to the dam construction were even partly correct. (Muir, 1245:37)

They say that the Hetch Hetchy is a “low lying meadow” which is not correct as it is instead a high lying natural landscape garden. Like thousands of other features, it is just a common minor feature in the area. In fact, clashingly it is after Yosemite it is one of the most unique and beautiful features of the region and is important for the park in many ways. The point that they have put forth that the construction would enhance the beauty of the region is completely fallacious. It is as true as telling “damming the Central Park of New York would enhance its beauty.”  (Muir, 1250:37)

Purest in its form, the water of Hetch Hetchy is the only available source of supply for San Fransisco. The reason behind it being pure does not lie in the fact that the place is being visited by hundreds of visitors each year which would soon turn to thousands. Various adequate and available sources of supply are present in the region and it is quite possible that those resources are somewhat costlier and therefore behind all the bold cunning arguments made in this context there is a general ignorance of the real subject. (Muir, 1255:38)

A far and widespread frame of the Merced Yosemite has been witnessed in the recent time, while Hetch-Hetchy, the Tuolumne has so far remained unknown comparatively, it has not been confronted so far as a counterpart of the incredibly popular valley. Like Merced flows through the Yosemite valley similarly Tuolumne flows through Hetch-Hetch valley. On the flank of Sierra, the two wonderful valleys occupy similar positions and were formed by the same natural forces, and have similar waterfalls, vegetation, and sculptures. At a distance of about eight miles, Hetch-Hetchy lies in the northwesterly direction of Yosemite and can now be easily accessed by wagon roads from Big Oak Flat Road at Sequoia. (Muir, 1275:38)

The valley of Hetch-Hetchy is a grand landscape garden of the most precious and rarest natural mountain mansions. (Muir 1305: 39) It seems impossible that anyone would destroy a place like this, unfortunately, people are both good enough and bad enough for things like these. Bad arguments have been brought forward by the proponents of the dam who wants to prove that the only righteousness lies in the destruction of the area. The monopolizing San Fransisco capitalists are doing their best in this ravaging money made to destroy Yosemite Park. (Muir, 1325:39)

The claim of the calamitous earthquake suffered by San Fransisco in 1906 was given in which after the compilation of the shaking tangles of boron water piper, gas and kerosene lamps ignited and burned for days. Thousand of lives were lead to waste in this incidence and I can only imagine the impact of a natural calamity of such magnitude in the area after the construction of the dam.  The Natural treasure of the Hetch Hetchy valley should stay under federal protection and should not be sacrificed for the monopolistic ambitions of certain influential people. The dam would inundate the farmlands of the Native American groups and would also threaten their old tradition. These communities have already been suffering from centuries of upheaval and the construction of the dam in the area would only add to their losses. The damming of the Tuolumne River would disturb the crop irrigation of  San Joaquin Valley, would hamper the local occupations, tourism businesses, and would deprive the valley and neighboring areas form their source of income. (Page 5, Issue guide)  Therefore I would like to put forth the request for a vote against the construction of the dam in the region and preserve this natural heritage of our great nation.

The Reference:

It’s 1913, a Moment of Decision for Hetch Hetchy. Issue Guide Hetch Hetchy. Page 5.

This resource talks about the relevance of the construction of the dam in every possible context. It also put forth the context of “John Muri” in a contradictory light which provides a change of perception and helps in understanding his part of the argument better.

Hyson, J. (2015 Oct) The Hetch Hetchy Debate: Conservation, Preservation and the Value of Nature. Game Book. Page 37. John Muir, “Hetch Hetchy Damming Scheme” (1908)

This section of the Game book helps in the development of the real argument as it talks about the relevance of the place in an environmental context in writing. It tells about the relevance of the valley before the construction of the dam for the people staying there and visitors.

Hyson, J. (2015 Oct) The Hetch Hetchy Debate: Conservation, Preservation and the Value of Nature. Game Book. Page 38. John Muir, “The Endangered Valley: The Hetch-Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park” (1909)

In this section, a detailed description of the valley was provided by Muir which makes it ideal for understanding its relevance for people and what loss would the construction bring to the area.