Friday, July 26, 2013

#207 / Tulare Lake

How many Californians know that Tulare Lake, covering about 570 square miles, in 1849, was the largest body of fresh water west of the Great Lakes, just prior to the admission of California into the Union? Lake Tahoe, by comparison, is 192 square miles in extent.

The illustration above, taken from a report published by the U.S. Government Printing Office in 1874, makes the following statement in the caption:

[The] destruction [of Tulare Lake] by the late 1800s because of diking and water diversion for irrigation was one of the most dramatic signs of a major theme in the state's history: the rapid transformation of the wild California landscape into one dominated almost completely by human action.

Query whether the world created by "human action" is always better (even for humans) than the World of Nature, within which our human actions are formulated.

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