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Restore Hetch Hetchy Plans Informative Hikes

Although Restore Hetch Hetchy closed their Sonora office about four years ago, the San Francisco based organization continues to gain strength and make news.

Mike Marshall, Executive Director for Restore Hetch Hetchy, was Thursday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.

Restore Hetch Hetchy is the largest group to carry out a conservation fight that almost began one hundred years ago.

Naturalist John Muir called Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley “one of nature’s rarest and most precious mountain temples.” Despite his urgent pleas, in 1913 the federal government approved San Francisco’s request to flood the valley for use as a reservoir.

The decision horrified wilderness-lovers and helped spur the creation of the National Park Service and the international environmental conservation movement. 

A series of Summer hikes, called Muir’s March, is part of Restore Hetch Hetchy’s ongoing mission to educate and return the Hetch Hetchy Valley to its natural condition, while continuing to meet the water and power needs of all communities that depend on the Tuolumne River.

The march will take backpackers and hikers into scenic areas rarely experienced by tourists, raises awareness and funds for their campaign to bring the Hetch Hetchy Valley back to life. The treks literally and figuratively follow in Muir’s footsteps, and are open to anyone who can raise a minimum of $90.

Muir’s March participants can choose from 6 scenic treks, each led by an experienced guide, and vary in length from one to seven days.The treks will begin on July 29th.

“Last year, record numbers of activists participated in Muir’s March,” said Marshall. “As momentum grows to restore Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley, we have expanded the number and breadth of routes that follow Muir’s footsteps – from the Tilltill Valley to Muir Gorge to the waterfalls of the Tuolumne River.”

The Muir’s March Guided Treks:

“Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne” 7 days –
This is the most strenuous course and follows the Tuolumne River down into the Pate Valley, up to Table Lake, and then back down to the banks of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. This is a 45.4-mile trek which includes Muir Gorge and Rancheria Falls. Many dramatic waterfalls are found in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.

Valley to Valley 7 days –
A 42-mile journey beginning in Yosemite Valley. Marchers will experience some of the most scenic parts of the park as they follow the Yosemite Falls, El Capitan and the Middle Fork trails. The highlight of the hike is the spectacular view of the Hetch Hetchy Valley from the top of Smith Peak.

The Backcountry’s Backcountry 7 days –
This is a 46.1-mile trek, which begins outside the park at Twin Lakes. The first day, marchers will climb up over Buckeye Pass and then traverse the most remote section of Yosemite down through the spectacular Jack Main Valley.

Tilltill Out’n’Back 4 days -This is a 20-mile trip from O’Shaughnessy Dam, along the north end of the Valley, past the waterfalls, through Rancheria Falls to Tilltill Valley, and back along the same scenic route.

The Kids Trip 4 days –
This 15 mile trip is especially designed for families with young kids. We’ll begin at White Wolf and hike a short distance to Hardin Lake. After an afternoon swim and overnight stay, the trek meanders to Smith Meadow, where the intrepid drop their packs and hike to the top of Smith Peak to watch the sunset. The final day will require an early rise for the scenic trail to the O’Shaughnessy Dam.

Camping and One Day Hike August 3 and 4
This is a guided or self guided 3 mile roundtrip stroll out to Wapama Falls.
Join marchers for 2 nights of camping, including “Muir’s Feast” on Friday night and the Restoration Picnic on Saturday to greet all the other hikers as they converge on O’Shaugnessy Dam.

Prospective participants can register or get more information by visiting www.muirsmarch.org or by calling 415-956-0401.

For more information on Restore Hetch Hetchy, visit http://www.hetchhetchy.org

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard each weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am.