[Robert Underwood] Johnson
(Copied from notebook marked "1905", letter 3)
Martinez, Mar. 23, '05.
Dear Mr. Johnson:
I knew that the management of the public lands in question had been transferred to the Bureau of Forestry of the Agricultural Department, but I got the impression somehow that the National Parks were not included in the transfer and that they would continue to be protected by soldiers under direction of the Secretary of the Interior. Anyhow, I suppose no important change will be made for the coming season. What a glorious chance this gives to the President to distinguish himself and bless all the world, but politicians, I fear, will try as hard as ever to get in their deadly work in spite of all we can do.
Can you tell me whether the superintendents, guards, rangers, etc. of the Parks and Be serrations have yet been brought under Civil Service rules. If not, the services of the military can hardly be spared
By the way, a lot of talk has been going on here about turning the Hetch Hetchy Yosemite Into a reservoir by a dam 150 feet high, and I saw it stated in the newspapers that Pinchot had been detailed to examine into the merits of the scheme and that he had reported to the President and the Secretary of the Interior that the damming of Hetch Hetchy "would not injure the National Park or detract from its beauties or natural wild grandeur." But I cannot believe that Pinchot, if he really knows the valley, has made any such statement, for it would be just the same as saying that flooding Yosemite would do it no harm. This damming of Hetch Hetchy and Lake Eleanor is an old scheme that we had to fight ten or twelve years ago. As good a reservoir can easily be made outside of the park, though at greater cost.
I hope the Fates will be kind to you and send you all out here this summer. I want to have a long talk with you about the management of the Valley, now that we have at last got it out of the hands of the California politicians.
Mr. R. U. Johnson,
The Century Magazine,
Original letter dimensions: 22.5 x 14.5 cm.
Muir, John, "Letter from [John Muir] to [Robert Underwood] Johnson, 05 Mar 23." (1905). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 3307.
Reel 15, Image 0352