The Owens Valley is a bold and beautiful land where rugged alpine peaks tower over the deep trough of high desert that John Muir called “a country of wonderful contrasts.” Inhabiting a rich and complex past are native people, miners, cattlemen, farmers, and city builders who laid claim, often violently, to its resources.
By 1913, Owens River water was flowing south through the Los Angeles Aqueduct, and from the long and bitter conflicts that followed emerged an Owens Valley future far removed from the agrarian Eden envisioned by 19th-century pioneers. Today, unparalleled recreational opportunities draw millions of visitors annually to this “long brown land” even as reminders of a quintessential Western past linger in its open vistas, epic landscape, and enduring traditions.
Highlights of The Owens Valley:
• A chapter on the valley’s early communities suggests how communities are formed and in particular what was unique to how early miners and the ranchers and farmers and their families who followed created the first settlements and towns.
• The book chronicles change over time, particularly in two important chapters dealing with the pivotal decades of the inception and building of the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the “water wars” that followed, and the profound economic and social shifts that resulted from the upheavals they created.
• A short chapter entitled “Inspired”
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