Should NPS allow boating on Hetch Hetchy?

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oleander
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Should NPS allow boating on Hetch Hetchy?

Post by oleander » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:06 pm

Dept. of the Interior is kicking around an idea to allow boating on Hetch Hetchy, and in some other national parks.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/travel/arti ... 474977.php

Only non-gas boats, and public tours (no private boats) would be allowed.

Discuss.








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Re: Should NPS allow boating on Hetch Hetchy?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:34 pm

Not sure I like the idea that one would have to pay (rent a boat). If those fees were reasonable, I would be OK with it, but if it is just seen as a funding source and fees get too high, then no, I would not agree. Also, what would be the size and capacity of the "tour boats"? How many, now often? I would hate to see it become a typical Yosemite zoo. I assume they plan on having it all run by a concessioner. And what about all the extra infrastructure, bathrooms, parking, etc? Personally, I have no problem with the no boating regulation; I like Hetch Hetchy the way it is right now.

Recently the Tuolumne has been open to private kayaking, from Tuolumne Meadows to Cathedral Creek. Would this also mean kayaking would be extended into Hetch Hetchy? I think the kayakers have to get a wilderness permit if they stay overnight; not sure if any permit is required if in-and-out in a day.

Would this also open up the idea of a ferry (like the Edison Lake Ferry) to drop off and pick up backpackers? Guided fishing trips? Were does it end?

The "disabled" access rationale is a bit of a red herring to me. If that is the main issue, then just have a few tours specifically for the honestly disabled. Tour boats open to the public would likely be filled with 90% or more tourists who simply do not want to walk the short distance to the falls.

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Re: Should NPS allow boating on Hetch Hetchy?

Post by c9h13no3 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:40 pm

Kayaks in Hetch Hetchy sounds like a really fun idea to me! I've always thought it was weird you can't swim or kayak in many California reservoirs.
"Adventure is just bad planning." - Roald Amundsen
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Re: Should NPS allow boating on Hetch Hetchy?

Post by rlown » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:43 pm

Personally, I would like Hetch Hetchy drained and let it restore itself to the nice valley it once was.

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Re: Should NPS allow boating on Hetch Hetchy?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:04 pm

Hetch Hetchy was built before the downstream dams. The water went directly to San Francisco, and was not required to be treated, which saved SF money. As an untreated water source they did not want people swimming or boating in it. That rationale is now a moot point, because the water now goes through Don Pedro which does allow boating including motor boating. I do not know exactly when, but at some point, water treatment was required regardless of boating on Hetch Hetchy or not. Some reservoirs are privately owned and the owner can set their own rules. Don Pedro is a federally funded dam/reservoir. I believe Hetch Hetchy is still private (correct me if I am wrong).

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Re: Should NPS allow boating on Hetch Hetchy?

Post by SSSdave » Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:32 am

After 911, many of these drinking water storage reservoirs have underwent increasing security in order to prevent potential contamination by substances that if dumped in might render the water undrinkable for decades. I don't see a need to add HH to the long list of waters that are already accessible. In that zone one already has Eleanor and Cherry Valley, both with considerable shore access and better suited for boating. From a scenic perspective, I don't see much added value from being able to access that area from lake waters versus the dam and trail areas as in any case one is down in a deep hole.

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Re: Should NPS allow boating on Hetch Hetchy?

Post by LMBSGV » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:53 pm

Personally, I would like Hetch Hetchy drained and let it restore itself to the nice valley it once was.
+1

WD makes good points about all the possible issues with allowing boats/kayaks. The comparison in Stienstra's article to Jenny Lake in the Tetons is rather ridiculous. The infrastructure is there at Jenny Lake from rest rooms to parking to a drive-in campground.

But then the decisions make by Trump's Interior Department have mainly been in favor of commercial interests.

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Re: Should NPS allow boating on Hetch Hetchy?

Post by rlown » Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:40 pm

220px-Hetch_Hetchy_Valley.jpg
Before the Dam went in..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hetch_Hetchy

Would have been fun to be there before the dam..
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Re: Should NPS allow boating on Hetch Hetchy?

Post by rightstar76 » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:48 am

John Muir's words (The Yosemite, 1912):

"These temple destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and, instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar.

Dam Hetch Hetchy! As well dam for water-tanks the people's cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man."

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Re: Should NPS allow boating on Hetch Hetchy?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:04 am

The specific question is about boating, given that Hetch Hetchy is not going to be taken down in the near future (not that restoring the valley should be discounted). The impact of allowing commercialization (recreational), could however be another item that would balance in favor of keeping the reservoir. Once recreational boating is established, it will become an argument against restoration.

Restoration of Hetch Hetchy would still be vulnerable to commercialization - similar to development in Yosemite Valley. In my opinion, there is not a chance in hell that you are going to restore Hetch Hetchy and have it remain "pristine". Personally, I would rather have a big, inaccessible lake there than another zoo such as is in Yosemite Valley. But that is another subject.

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