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The Battle Over Hetch HetchyAmerica's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism$
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Robert W. Righter

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195149470

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195149470.001.0001

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(p.3) Introduction
The Battle Over Hetch Hetchy

Robert W. Righter (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Hetch Hetchy Valley fight represented the first time the forces of development and preservation fought on a national level. Located within Yosemite National Park, the struggle signaled the opening salvo of the century-long conflict over the “highest and best use” of natural areas. It was not an issue of wilderness preservation, but rather one of water storage or nature tourism. It also represents the seminal battle over public versus private power. History does show that viable water storage alternatives existed, and San Francisco could have developed an equally fine water system built at less expense, without the invasion of a national park and the loss of a remarkable valley.

Keywords:   land use, San Francisco, public power, alternative solutions

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