River Stops Here: How One Man's Battle To:Save His Valley Changed the Fate of California

River Stops Here: How One Man's Battle To:Save His Valley Changed the Fate of California

by Ted Simon
     
 

The River Stops Here is an exhilarating tale of classic American heroism, the unforgettable story of one man's battle to save a valley and a way of life. Richard Wilson turned his back on a comfortable life in Southern California to settle with his wife and children in Round Valley, a remote miracle of nature in the mountains north of San Francisco. He built a cattle…  See more details below

Overview

The River Stops Here is an exhilarating tale of classic American heroism, the unforgettable story of one man's battle to save a valley and a way of life. Richard Wilson turned his back on a comfortable life in Southern California to settle with his wife and children in Round Valley, a remote miracle of nature in the mountains north of San Francisco. He built a cattle ranch there because he believed in the value of living on the land. He worked hard to be accepted by the valley's long-time farmers and ranchers because he knew he'd found a community where he wanted to stay. Then, in 1967, the State of California announced its plan to flood Round Valley - the farms, the town, the homes - under 11 billion tons of water, to turn it into a vast reservoir to feed the ever-expanding, always-thirsty south. Richard Wilson vowed to stop them. So began an extraordinary battle that pitted him and a small band of followers against some of the most powerful forces in the state: the great corporate farmers and developers and their legislators, the intransigent Director of Water Resources, and the hitherto unchallenged and seemingly invincible Army Corps of Engineers. Most powerful of all was the tradition of limitless growth and exploitation of natural resources that had been driving California's destiny for over a century. As the rebels moved their fight from town hall meetings to the state legislature, then all the way to Governor Reagan's office, they galvanized thousands of citizens up and down California and across the nation to join them in one of America's first and most important environmental campaigns. The River Stops Here is about a man of vision who had the courage to stand up to the powers-that-be and inspire others to do the same. Bringing to life California's desperate wars over water, it provides an important commentary on the relationship of Americans to their land and resources.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the late 1960s, the Dos Rios Dam on the Eel River was the largest proposed water project in California. Simon ( Jupiter's Travels ) shows that before the environmental movement was launched, in a state seemingly controlled by water interests and governed by Ronald Reagan, only the relentless efforts of one person, wealthy rancher Richard Wilson, derailed the building of the Dos Rios Dam and by so doing redefined California's environmental agenda. ``Largely as a result of Richard's energy and determination, it was never again possible for a major water project to be planned in California without the environmental and social cost being evaluated first.'' The specifics of the battle to defeat the Eel River proposal are nicely set within the broader context of Southern California's thirst for the north's water. Simon handles the historical chapters in a much drier fashion, however, which considerably slows this otherwise fast-paced book. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Simon (Jupiter's Travels, LJ 2/15/80) tells the story of Richard Wilson, the man who led the fight against the Dos Rios Dam project in California in the 1960s. He follows the controversy from beginning to end, offering views of both major and minor contributing personalities (e.g., Ronald Reagan). Although Simon provides an overabundance of background information before reaching the essence of the controversy, his conversational style makes this complicated affair involving and accessible to the reader. Still, a chart with agencies and agency personnel would have helped in keeping track of key players, and while adequate maps are essential to understanding this affair, the maps were unavailable for review. Although Simon's bias is clear, he succeeds in illuminating all sides of California water issues. Despite its deficiencies, this book is recommended for libraries serving patrons interested in Western water and environmental issues.-Jeanne Davidson, Augustana Coll., Rock Island, Ill.
Brian McCombie
The story of the fight to stop the building of a dam in northern California. The struggles occur on many levels for Richard Wilson, who decides in 1967 that plans to turn the Round Valley into a large reservoir must be stopped. At first, he and others see such plans as another of the many "crazy water schemes" that the water-starved West regularly created. By the time he and his companions realize that the state and the Army Corps of Engineers are serious, it's almost too late. His story is the story of how one man fights for those things "elemental" to us all--love, honor, family, and the land--and the personal costs of engaging in such a battle. Interestingly, Simon doesn't seem to understand how "elemental" self-interest is, for all sides, in the compelling story he narrates.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679428220
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/06/1994
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.49(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.33(d)

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