Ranger-naturalists have been interpreting the natural and cultural resources of Yosemite for park visitors for nearly a century. In this blog, some of Yosemite's park rangers share recent observations from around Yosemite.
All posts are shown below, or you can view posts by topic.
September 04, 2014Posted by: JW - Park Ranger (Wawona)
The grand features of Yosemite National Park have a magnetism that draws not only individuals, but entire generations of people back time and time again to bask in its rich splendor. Yet, a lifetime of our own visits only represents a brief heartbeat in the constantly changing existence of this dynamic landscape.
September 02, 2014Posted by: SS - Park Ranger (Wawona)
Although not as well known in national artistic circles as the now-famous names of Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill, William Keith, and Thomas Moran, Chris Jorgensen is locally known and beloved by those of his adopted state of California. Born in Norway and brought to San Francisco as a boy by his widowed mother, Christian Jorgensen initially showed little sign of his future success....
August 27, 2014Posted by: KL - Park Ranger (Wawona)
The Wawona campground is a beloved vacation destination for many visitors because of its peaceful atmosphere and proximity to the river. However, if you could travel back in time to visit Wawona, you would encounter a very different scene. For, if you were visiting the Wawona campground between 1891 and 1906, you would be standing in the middle of a military camp.
August 27, 2014Posted by: JL - Park Ranger (Wawona)
The manzanita is a dramatic looking shrub that brings a splash of color to its surroundings. The twisting bright red wood of the manzanita’s trunk beautifully contrasts with its light green gray leaves. Because of its environment the manzanita has adapted to both drought and fire.
August 25, 2014Posted by: JJ - Park Ranger (Wawona)
Among the mightiest and noblest of Yosemite’s trees are the giant sequoias. The “real” story of the trees is not the tree itself; but rather, it’s the story of natural processes that help maintain a healthy giant sequoia forest.
August 06, 2014Posted by: SS - Park Ranger (Wawona)
Do you have a morning ritual? Early mornings are an exceptional time of day in Wawona, the south end of Yosemite National Park. As a visitor to the area, you may choose to experience some of the morning rituals outlined here--crossword puzzles included for your downloading pleasure!
August 04, 2014Posted by: JL - Park Ranger (Wawona)
As we commemorate the Yosemite Grant’s Sesquicentennial (150th) Anniversary, another anniversary is overshadowed by the festivities. Fifty years ago, Yosemite celebrated the official opening of the Pioneer Yosemite History Center (PYHC), perhaps not as momentous as the Sesquicentennial but noteworthy nonetheless.
If you have ever spent time in Wawona, chances are you have fond memories of splashing around in one of the area’s many marvelous swimming holes, or spending a lazy afternoon reading a book with your feet in the water. Here in Wawona, we are lucky to be located along the South Fork Merced River, which not only offers many great places to swim, but also serves as the main source of our drinking water. This year, has been grim for the South Fork. With several exceptionally dry years in a row, the South Fork is currently extremely low.
August 16, 2013Posted by: KL - Park Ranger (Wawona)
Wawona is home to the Pioneer Yosemite History Center, a collection of historic buildings that have been relocated from all over the park. Each building tells a different story about Yosemite’s history. A visit to the Pioneer Yosemite History Center provides the opportunity to look into the lives, homes, and workplaces of the people who shaped and were shaped by Yosemite in centuries past.
August 04, 2013Posted by: SS - Park Ranger (Wawona)
As I lace up my running shoes, the early morning air is crisp and clean with an aroma of pine and wet grass; it is the beginning of my day unfolding. The Wawona Meadow Loop is a 3.5-mile dirt road that encompasses one of few lower montane Sierra Nevada meadows: terrain gently rolling through ponderosa pine, incense-cedar, and California black oak woodland. Mountain dogwoods tightly crowd and overhang the path along one section I have dubbed “Dogwood Alley.” The dramatic blossoms in spring and the peach and rose-hued leaves in autumn lure me back to run this particular scenic loop regularly. Even in winter, the thin snow crunches underfoot and utter silence offers a cold meditative run for me in the low angle light of solstice.
August 04, 2013Posted by: JL - Park Ranger (Wawona)
"He is, without exception, the wildest animal I ever saw, --a fiery, sputtering little bolt of life." Imagine for a moment, if we had opportunity to spend the day with John Muir as our mountain guide. As Muir leads us into the upper montane forest, he excitedly speaks of searching out the “wildest animal I ever saw.” Would you be delighted or disappointed to discover that this creature is less than a foot in length and weighs just a few ounces?
August 03, 2013Posted by: JJ - Park Ranger (Wawona)
The early morning sun in Wawona tells me there’s something very special about this place. Hearing the flow of the South Fork of the Merced River is calming, smoothing, and refreshing. Sitting quietly in the Wawona Meadow and closing my eyes creates another dimension of Wawona. Wawona, Yosemite's Sleepy Hollow, is like no other place in the Sierra.
The Wawona Meadow has played many different roles throughout its history: a home to wildlife, a food preparation area for American Indians, a hotspot of biological diversity, and more recently, a pasture, a golf course, and an airstrip! Like all Sierra Nevada meadows, our meadow here in Wawona is important habitat for plant and animal communities, including some of Yosemite’s rarest birds. It also serves as a natural floodwater reservoir and filtration system.
Over the South Fork of the Merced River in Wawona is a covered bridge. There are only a dozen covered bridges here in California, which is reason enough that this bridge is special. But Wawona’s covered bridge is special for a whole host of other reasons, especially for the story it tells of Wawona’s past, and the people who called this place home.
Galen Clark was the first “Guardian” of Yosemite after the Yosemite Grant was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Clark persuaded lawmakers to protect the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias as well as Yosemite Valley for future generations.