Union Democrat staff

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

To the Editor:

Mark Cederborg and others that want to drain Hetch Hetchy Reservoir are missing the point. Have been to Yosemite Valley on a summer weekend or even worse on a three-day weekend? The valley floor becomes gridlocked with bumper to bumper traffic with nowhere to park when you do reach the falls or the village? This is only part of the problem. How do you deal with all the human sewage, and supply all those tourists with water, supplies and lodging. Also, where does the wildlife find some space that isn't occupied by people?

Is this what Mark Cederborg and others want to see when Hetch Hetchy is drained? Another valley congested with people and the wildlife forced to relocate to areas with less people?

Hetch Hetchy is a beautiful lake with wilderness that can only be explored on foot with a backpack. It is also one of the greatest water systems ever built with gravity water flow to the Bay Area generating electricity at several points along the way. The money used to destroy this lake and water system could be much better spent on the environment and infrastructure. We need better roads, larger sewer treatment plants, additional water storage and water treatment plants to fulfill the needs of a growing population.

Murray Smith and Marilyn Bodle


Keep Railtown rolling

To the Editor:

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) represents one of the richest elements of Tuolumne County history and heritage. The park, located in Jamestown, is a living history classroom for the circa 1900s steam-powered railways and has continuously operated for 115 years. It acts as a historical interpretive element of the California State Railroad Museum operations.

The park houses the original 1897 Sierra Railway steam maintenance shops, which include the roundhouse, turntable, machine shop, freight shed, steam engines, and rolling railroad stock. It continues to provide weekend steam excursion rides for serious railroad enthusiasts, as well as for families and children of all ages.

International tourists seek this park because of its historical reputation of having original operating facilities, steam excursion rides, and vintage steam engines, providing a unique sense of place for steam railroading in the world. The Sierra Railway has been evaluated as being eligible for the National Register of Historical Places. We cannot afford to lose this irreplaceable piece of our historic fabric.

Railtown 1897 SHP is clearly a valuable asset to the economy of Jamestown, Tuolumne County, and the State of California. The combination of Railtown 1897 SHP railroading, Columbia SHP gold rush mining town, and the local timber/lumber history make a complete story for the living history of the Mother Lode experience.

As a 16-year docent at Railtown 1897 SHP, I strongly recommend that the park be maintained as an active facility for the benefit of our heritage tourism and visitors who clearly support our local and state economy. Please vote "YES on Measure C" this June and you can personally help "Keep Railtown Rolling."

Joe Sparagna