By Robert W. Righter
Within the wake of the devastating 1906 earthquake and hearth, town of San Francisco desperately wanted trustworthy offers of water and electrical energy. Its mayor, James Phelan, pressed for the damming of the Tuolumne River within the newly created Yosemite nationwide Park, environment off a firestorm of protest. For the 1st time in American background, an important nationwide competition arose to safeguard and shield nature, led by way of John Muir and the Sierra membership, who sought to guard what they believed used to be the perfect of all americans to adventure average good looks, fairly the really good mountains of the Yosemite area. but the defenders of the valley, whereas opposing the construction of a dam and reservoir, didn't intend for it to be maintained as wasteland. as an alternative they recommended a special type of development--the development of roads, lodges, and an infrastructure to aid leisure tourism. utilizing articles, pamphlets, and broadsides, they effectively whipped up public opinion opposed to the dam. Letters from contributors started to pour into Congress by means of the millions, and significant newspapers released editorials condemning the dam. The struggle went to the ground of Congress, the place politicians debated the worth of surroundings and the prices of western improvement. finally, passage of the passage of the Raker Act in 1913 by means of Congress granted San Francisco the fitting to flood the Hetch Hetchy Valley. A decade later the O'Shaughnessy Dam, the second one biggest civil engineering venture of its day after the Panama Canal, used to be accomplished. but clash persevered over the possession of the watershed and the gains derived from hydroelectrocity. To today the reservoir presents San Francisco with a natural and trustworthy resource of consuming water and an enormous resource of energy. even though the Sierra membership misplaced this conflict, the debate stirred the general public into motion on behalf of nationwide parks. destiny debates over dams and recovery in actual fact proven the burgeoning power of grassroots environmentalism. In a story peopled through politicians and company leaders, engineers and employees, preservationists and traditional voters, Robert W. Righter tells the epic tale of the 1st significant environmental conflict of the 20th century, which reverberates to today.