John Muir


John Muir


[Robert Underwood] Johnson


Martinez Sep 18, 1907

Dear Mr Johnson:

I have written a description of Hetch Hetchy most of it like thedescription published in the Century Sep. 1890, & have offered it to the Outlook with a letter to Lyman Abbott hoping it might soon be published. A copy of the part refering to the present water scheme I am sending with this, not to be published until I have heard from the Outlook.
I have also sent copies of the article to the President & Garfield with personal letters, & will soon send copies of Sierra Club resolutions on the confounded business
We have enlisted the cooperation of the Mazama & Appalachian Clubs & got as many influential persons as possible to write to the Secretary--
Mr. Phelan & the S. F. Board of Supervisors are at the bottom of the whole black job. Manson & Warren Olney (J. P. Irish's partner) are only hired promoters--
You should try to get copies of applications & arguments, reports etc onthe case from the Secretary-- The Main points as far as I can see at present you will find in the enclosed letters etc

Faithfully fightingly yours

John Muir



Martinez, California. September 6/07

Dear Sir:

At the close of a meeting of the Sierra Club, called to consider theproposed Hetch Hetchy Reservoir Site, I met Mr. Pinchot, and after a brief talkin which the subject was outlined, he never having seen it, seemed surprized to learn how important a part of the Yosemite Park the Hetch Hetchy really is. He promised to call if possible after the close of the Irrigation Congress and goover the matter in detail, and advise me to write you in the meantime requesting you to keep the matter open until we could be heard. I am writing a description of the Valley which I shall send you tomorrow or the day after, and later thereport of our Club committee with other papers bearing on the subject.
We are all[1] heartily in favor of a Sierra, or even a Tuolumne watersupply for San Francisco and the Irrigation companies, but feel assured that allthe water required can be obtained from other nearby sources outside the park [2] without damming Hetch Hetchy, the destructive effects of which on thePark in general could be equalled only by making Yosemite itself into a reservoir.[3] Indeed every argument advanced for the making of Hetch Hetchyinto a reservoir would apply with equal force to Yosemite excepting only thecost of the required dam [4]
1 All was crossed out.
2 Originally written "...but feel assured that the water required can be abundantly supplied..."


3 Originally written "...only by damming Yosemite itself."
4 Originally written "Indeed every argument advanced for the damming of Hetch Hetchy would apply with equal force to the damming of Yosemiteexcepting only the cheepness of the dam, as well be made manifest as soon as the two valleys are made equally accessible."
The following paragraph was deleted by John Muir from this revision: "Allour good citizens want plenty of Sierra water, but not one as far as I know of the thousands who have seen Hetch Hetchy or have heard it described wish to see it dammed while other equally good sources, though perhaps not quite so dam cheap, are available. The few enterprising promoters of the present dam scheme are not unknown around the boundaries of the Park, for they have been trying to break though for years. Like many others they are now making use of the municiple philanthropy and afflicted City plea. But to take for granted that their motives are as ungratful and pure as Tuolumne water, or that the California public demand the Hetch Hetchy sacrifice [sentence incomplete]" A second version of the last line reads: "For they have been trying to break through for years; but to take for granted to assume from such statements California public demand the Hetch Hetchy sacrafice [sentence incomplete]"



Martinez [Calif.]

Date Original

1907 Sep 18


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 16, Image 1021

Collection Identifier

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

Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, see

Owning Institution

Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



3 pages


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



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