‘All they’ve ever seen’

An anecdote from my stories about the Clean Water Act (here and here) was cut, probably because of space limitations.

I’ll share it here.

Fisherman John Banks, 77, grew up in Stockton. On hot summer days he and his buddies would ride their bikes down to Dad’s Point (the swimming pool at Stribley Park was for sissies) and splash around in the Deep Water Channel.

When they were thirsty, they took a drink.

That was before the Clean Water Act, but it was also before the state and federal government started pumping Delta water as far south as San Diego. Banks believes it’s the loss of that water that is the primary reason the rivers remain polluted today.

Most people in Stockton don’t comprehend the river he remembers – “my river,” he calls it.

“They can’t imagine a sparkling river flowing through a major metropolis,” Banks said. “That’s completely beyond their understanding.

“Because this is all they’ve ever seen.”

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  • Blog Author

    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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