Roosevelt's Chief Forester, Gifford Pinchot, was his closest ally in the conservation cause. Pinchot and a panel of expert water engineers told Roosevelt that the Hetch Hetchy Dam was the only practical solution to San Francisco's chronic water shortage.
"I fully sympathize with the desire of . . .Mr. Muir to protect the Yosemite National Park, but I believe that the highest possible use which could be made of it would be to supply pure water to a great center of population."
-- Gifford Pinchot to Theodore Roosevelt, 1907.
John Muir argued that there must be alternatives to the Hetch Hetchy site and insisted that the wilderness was necessary for spiritual and aesthetic reasons.
"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike."