Interior Secretary Donald P. Hodel summoned the leaders of major conservation organizations to his office this week to ask their help in deciding whether Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park can be restored.

The glacier-carved valley in the Sierra Nevada was dammed early in this century by the city of San Francisco and holds 360,000 acre feet of water behind O'Shaughnessy Dam. Hodel, in a surprise announcement last month, proposed tearing down the 430-foot-high dam and draining the reservoir that now supplies most of San Francisco's water.

Hodel called the meeting "to explore this idea" with the Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, National Parks and Conservation Association, the American Recreation Coalition and Western River Guides, an Interior spokeswoman said.

Emily DeRocco, director of the department's external affairs, said Hodel called in the groups' leaders to get their ideas on whether restoration of Hetch Hetchy is "worth exploring at all."

Reactions to Hodel's efforts to enlist their aid in planning such a project were mixed.

"Given the secretary's abysmal record and given the lack of any homework on this issue, I have a very hard time seeing any evidence that he {Hodel} is serious," said George T. Frampton Jr., president of the Wilderness Society.

Frampton described Hodel's Hetch Hetchy proposal as a public relations ploy intended to divert attention from other more important issues, such as oil drilling in an Arctic wildlife refuge.

The Sierra Club's Michael McCloskey, while observing that "no substantial staff work has been done" by the department on Hodel's proposal, said, "We would like to see a serious study . . . find some feasible way to restore Hetch Hetchy."

If Hetch Hetchy Valley is to be restored, an alternate supply of water would have to be found for San Francisco.

Hodel assured the conservationists at the Thursday meeting that his proposal was not an attempt to revive efforts to build Auburn Dam on the American River, DeRocco said.

"He made it clear at the beginning of the meeting that Auburn {Dam} would not be built as a federal project in his lifetime," DeRocco said.