Oral history passed down by local American Indians says the people of the Yosemite area were created here and have been here since the beginning of time. Seven present-day tribes descend from the people who first called this area home. As Europeans arrived in the mid-1800s, violent disruption ensued that displaced the native populations. Early white settlers arrived and hosted writers, artists, and photographers who spread the fame of "the Incomparable Valley" throughout the world. Park pioneers, like Galen Clark, then spoke of Yosemite's need for protection, and that environmental philosophy was advocated by the scientists of the time and later enforced by the park's first nature guides. Early on, women helped make Yosemite what it has become--as influential concessioners, adventurers, and NPS employees who went beyond the time's traditional roles.
Did You Know?
Unrestricted camping is no longer allowed in Yosemite Valley because of damage it causes. The placement of campgrounds and campsites has changed over the past 75 years in response to a growing understanding of river dynamics, geologic hazards, and the park's natural and cultural resources.