The Battle over Hetch Hetchy

The Battle over Hetch Hetchy : America's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism

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At the beginning of the 19th centurry, an unknown granite valley in California's Sierra Nevada mountain brought a controversy over the use of land and nature to the floor of Congress and thrust preservationist concerns into national consciousness. The city of San Francisco pressed for the damming of the Tuolumne River in newly created Yosemite National Park in order to create a pure and reliable urban water supply. Gifford Pinchot, the first head of the US Forest Service, supported the reservoir, articulating the position that nature should be used, managed and controlled by man, a position of utilitarian conservation Theodore Roosevelt supported. But for the first time in American history, a significant national opposition arose to defend and preserve nature, led by John Muir and the Sierra Club. Three years after congressional approval of the dam, Woodrow Wilson signed the National Parks Act to prevent future damming projects in nationally protected land; no dam has been approved since.In 1933, the city completedthe O'Shaugnessy Dam, but in the wake of the controversy there arose an active environmental movement, which developed interest group techniques and strategies that would effectively turn regional issues into national battles. The dam became a symbol of unquestioned growth, misplaced faith in technology and engineering, and a disrespect for nature and national parks. In the first popular book on Hetch Hetchy to be published since 1965, Bob Righter provides a short accessible narrative of the Hetch Hetchy controversy and its continuing impact on American history, including the contemporary debates ver resource management in California and proposals to tear down existing dams more

Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 152.4 x 233.7 x 30.5mm | 498.96g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 2 maps, numerous halftones
  • 0195149475
  • 9780195149470

About Robert W. Righter

Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Robert W. Righter is Research Professor of History at Southern Methodist more

Review quote

"Robert Righter has done a service to anyone interested in Hetch Hetchy's history."--Dan Balkwill, Annals of Wyoming"This splendid book will be the definitive history of the Hetch Hetchy controversy for years to come."-Donald J. Pisani, University of Oklahomashow more

Rating details

54 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 15% (8)
4 50% (27)
3 30% (16)
2 6% (3)
1 0% (0)
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