E[dward] T. Parsons


James H. [R.] Garfield


September 5, 1907.

Hon. James H. Garfield,
Secretary of the Interior,
Washington, D. C.

Dear Sir:

It has just come to my knowledge that an effort is being made by a clique of San Francisco to get permission of the National Government to dame and use as reservoir for city water supply the Hetch Hetchy Valley, a part of the Yosemite national Park.
As a citizen of California and the United States, and a property owner in both Berkeley and Oakland (which are also proposed to be served by the projected work) I emphatically protest against allowing any encroachment in the Yosemite National Park for the following reasons:
First: There ore other ample and practicable sources for supplying: “Sierra water” to the cities of the San Francisco Bay region without this unwarranted encroachment. This is admitted by the individuals advocating it who have discussed it with me.
Second: The movement is trying to forestall opposition by its almost surreptitious work, as the general public is so far in ignorance of this attempt. No newspapers have published it. Only hints at “Sierra water” have been given in articles so far appearing in San Francisco papers.
Third: This superbly spacious Valley Park, with its beauties only second to Yosemite Valley itself, if it is filled as the proposed dam would fill it, would be totally destroyed for public resort and enjoyment. Its walls of almost perpendicular granite would prevent even roads about the margin.
During the summer of 1907 more than 200 people encamped on the floor of the Hetch Hetchey Valley at times when the Yosemite itself was overcrowded with visitors; and with, increasing facilities for reaching it thousands will resort to it and to the Tuolumne Meadows relieving the ever increasing congestion of the Yosemite Valley itself.
Fourth: If this encroachment were permitted it would be followed by further attempts on the Tuolumne Meadows, and eventually on other parts of the Park.


Hon. James H. Garfield,..2.

This region is a great national playground of matchless beauty and grandeur, the property of the people of the entire Nation, and should be so preserved for all time.
Even from a mercenary point of view it would be of immense profit, as the years bring travel like that to the Alps.
I have three times enjoyed camping in this region and am so qualified to speak from personal knowledge of the foreign facts.
Finally: The scheme is not necessary- there is other water available.

Yours truly,

E. T. Parsons

Dear Mr. Muir,

Original was on my business letter head

Yours truly

E. T. Parsons.

E. T. Parsons
149[illegible] 157 Second Street
San Francisco, Cal.



San Francisco

Date Original

1907 Sep 5


Original letter dimensions: 28 x 21.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 16, Image 0959

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

Copyright Statement

Some letters written to John Muir may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Owning Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.


2 pages


Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters



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