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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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Two Views of One Valley

Two Views of One Valley

(p.66) CHAPTER 4 Two Views of One Valley
The Battle Over Hetch Hetchy

Robert W. Righter (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In early 1908, San Francisco felt confident that the Hetch Hetchy Valley would soon hold a reservoir. Secretary of the Interior James Garfield favored the city, and he formally approved the city's application in May. The Garfield grant, however, necessitated congressional hearings. In the House of Representatives and the Senate, damaging testimony as to the value of national parks influenced the legislators. San Francisco lost its chance for congressional approval of the Garfield grant. Now Muir, William Colby, Harriet Monroe, J. Horace McFarland, Robert Underwood Johnson, and others took the offensive. They formed the Society for the Preservation of National Parks to give their cause a more national voice. They enlisted the help of hiking and mountaineering clubs, and the General Federation of Women's Clubs. The new organization put out circulars attacking San Francisco's plans and offering alternatives. San Francisco responded with an attack on Muir and the “sentimentalists”, which it labeled “short-haired women and long-haired men”. Equally significant, the Roosevelt Administration left office and with it went Garfield, and soon, Pinchot. Congress, somewhat befuddled by the Hetch Hetchy controversy, endorsed a study by the US Geological Survey.

Keywords:   James Garfield, John Muir, Robert Underwood Johnson, Harriett Monroe, General Federation of Women's Clubs, Theodore Roosevelt

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