Before the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916, the U.S. Army was responsible for protecting our first national parks. Soldiers from the Presidio of San Francisco spent the summer months in Yosemite and Sequoia. Their tasks included blazing trails, constructing roads, creating maps, evicting grazing livestock, extinguishing fires, monitoring tourists, and keeping poachers and loggers at bay.
Among the units that patrolled the parks were Buffalo Soldiers of the 24th Infantry and 9th Cavalry. These African American troopers were in the Sierra parks in 1899, 1903, and 1904. They played a crucial role in events and achievements that shaped the parks as well as the entire national park system.
The stories of the Buffalo Soldiers span three different national parks. Learn more about their activities at each park.
Did You Know?
Alcatraz Island is the site of a large colony of Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis), the gull species that inhabits the Oregon and California coast. Individuals mate for life and come together each year on Alcatraz to defend their historic territory and raise three chicks.