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.
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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 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.
February 06, 2014Posted by: MO - Park Ranger/Web Manager (Yosemite Valley)
Yosemite was once the stage for avid winter enthusiasts. It was even an option for hosting the Olympic Winter Games in 1932. Stephen T. Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, believed strongly, that “Yosemite is a winter as well as a summer resort…That it has not been more patronized during the winter months is due partly to limited accommodations and partly to lack of publicity.” In some ways he was right, and his hopes for Yosemite later came to fruition.
Yesterday, December 19, was the centennial of the Raker Act, the bill that allowed the building of a dam in the Hetch Hetchy Valley. The Raker Act was highly controversial and the points of view that were argued on both sides of the controversy are valuable perspectives that are still relevant today.
James Chenowith Lamon (pronounced “lemon”), a native of Virginia, came to California during the Gold Rush in 1851. Lured by stories of a great valley, he was one of the first few hundred tourists to visit Yosemite in the late 1850s. In the winters of 1862-63 and 1863-64, Lamon stayed in Yosemite Valley while all other settlers and pioneers moved down to the foothills. Can you imagine what that was like?
September 25, 2013Posted by: BR - Park Ranger/Resources Management & Science Liaison
The Yosemite Cemetery is filled with echoes of Yosemite’s past. For American Indians the origins of these echoes reach back many hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. The echoes of non-Indians go back only to the mid-nineteenth century, yet this was a time of great change in the American perspective on wild lands and scenic resources. A visit to the Yosemite Cemetery will bring you closer to many of the personages that began the development of what we now call Yosemite National Park.
August 23, 2013Posted by: JT - Park Ranger/Web Manager (Yosemite Valley)
On August 28, 1913, Park Ranger Forest Townsley issued the first automobile permit in Yosemite National Park. While early visitors had driven automobiles in Yosemite as early as 1900, cars weren’t formally allowed until 1913.
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: 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?
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.
Natural fires in Yosemite are often no more than a single burning snag (standing dead tree) or a slow moving, low intensity fire that cleans underbrush from the forest floor. These fires prevent unwanted fires by removing accumulating forest debris that can fuel a larger fire in hot, dry conditions.