179 years ago and 2 years ago

John Muir's Birthday and Restore Hetch Hetchy's Lawsuit


A century ago, a San Francisco newspaper ridiculed John Muir for trying to protect Yosemite. Today, we honor him on the California quarter.

179 years ago today, John Muir, arguably the most influential conservationist and naturalist of all time, was born in Dunbar, Scotland.

2 years ago today, Restore Hetch Hetchy filed suit against the City of San Francisco in Sonora, California.

Alan_Cranston_with_caption.pngFiling the lawsuit on John Muir's birthday was no accident. Muir spent the last years of his life fighting the proposal to build a dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley. He lost that fight, but started something much bigger. As we and others have written extensively, the nationwide uproar over building a dam in Yosemite led to the creation of the National Park Service and inspired citizens across the country to protect our most spectacular landscapes as never before.

The damming and flooding of Hetch Hetchy remains the greatest damage ever allowed in any of our national parks. At Restore Hetch Hetchy, we believe undoing that damage would also inspire a new generation of Americans and communities around the world to make better decisions about how to manage our natural resources.

We are especially encouraged by the broad support we have received in our lawsuit from the State Water Board, Former California Officials and Yosemite Superintendents, law professors and the Earth Island Institute. We all agree that it is time to weigh the benefits of restoration against the cost of making it possible - while assuring that San Francisco does not lose a drop of water supply.