Restore Hetch-hetchy?

posted Feb 18, 2012, 7:29 AM by Paul Wagner
We've been aware of a group that wants to take down the dam on the Tuolumne River at Hetch-hetchy and restore that valley to it's previous state.  If you've ever seen some of the photos taken before the dam was built, we're sure you were charmed by how beautiful it really was.
But we also realize that taking down that dam is a huge undertaking.  In fact, today you can still see all sorts of traces of the original project to BUILD the dam nearly 100 years later.  So it's hard to imagine that process not making a real mess of things.
OK--what the heck is this for?
And once the dam comes down, of course, the valley is going to take a long time to recover. We were recently at Pinecrest Lake this year, when they had drained the lake for the winter.  That's a small lake, and they drain it every year, but we can only imagine what the Hetch-hetchy Valley would look like if that reservoir were drained.
So how do we feel about the whole thing?  We're undecided. 
Our route--taken on the way out, when the weather was better.  On the left you can see Wapama Falls...and that strip of green along the lower cliff hides our trail up the north side of Hetch-hetchy.
It sure would be lovely to have that valley back the way it was---if that were possible.
But it sure would take a lot of time and money to make that happen, and the process would NOT be pretty.
And in the meantime, San Francisco would lose its source of drinking water at a time when the state is looking more and more like the desert it is...
We'll certainly keep following the issue.