Tuolumne River - La Grange to Roberts Ferry Professional Review and Guide
"The object of epic river conservation struggles, the remnant flows of the Tuolumne River twist through the gold-dredge tailings near historic La Grange. The 148-mile Tuolumne River originates at the 12,000-foot Sierra Crest in Yosemite National Park. From granite peaks and the Mount Lyell glacier, the Tuolumne cascades down narrow canyons and slides through lush meadows before O’Shaughnessy Dam captures the river in Hetch Hetchy Canyon. John Muir fought valiantly to save Hetch Hetchy’s splendor as equal to Yosemite Canyon. Muir and the fledgling Sierra Club lost that battle and Congress enacted the Raker Act in 1914. The act authorized the City of San Francisco to dam Hetch Hetchy and divert much of its flow through tunnels, power plants, and aqueducts to San Francisco. The remaining water flows through the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne to huge New Don Pedro Reservoir. Modesto Irrigation District and Turlock Irrigation District divert water from New Don Pedro Reservoir at La Grange Dam. Only 2 miles by road upstream from the community of La Grange, the dam is worth seeing. Built in 1894 of huge granite blocks wedged into the narrow canyon, the dam diverts the river into canals carved into the canyon walls. Except during flood periods when La Grange Dam overflows, the little powerhouse beside the dam sends the limp remainder of the Tuolumne to the lower river. Threatened with extinction, salmon spawn again in the Tuolumne these days due in part to restored spawning gravels, increased seasonal San Joaquin River flows, and a seasonal ban on all sport fishing."