El Portal Market Burns in Yosemite National Park
The El Portal Market, one of El Portal’s oldest buildings burned to the ground today in a blaze which was reported by El Portal residents at approximately 5 am. Firefighters from the National Park Service, DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite, Inc., and Mariposa County responded to the fire. The market has been closed for renovations since late March.
The El Portal Market, built around 1934, originally served park visitors travelling to Yosemite by railroad. The market was operated between 1966 and March, 2008 under the general partnership of Vaughn, Vaughn, and Carter. The current operator was scheduled to open the market in late spring, 2008, when renovations were complete. The market has served El Portal residents and park visitors since the mid-1930’s as both a general merchandise store and a community meeting place.
Mike Tollefson, Yosemite Park Superintendent, said this morning: "It is impossible to imagine the loss that this is for the community of El Portal and the park as a whole."
Yosemite park managers are meeting immediately this morning to consider options for replacing the building.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
Did You Know?
In Wawona and downstream, the South Fork Merced River provides habitat for a rare plant, the Sierra sweet bay (Myrica hartwegii). This special status shrub is found in only five Sierra Nevada counties. In Yosemite, it occurs exclusively on sand bars and river banks along the South Fork Merced River downstream from Wawona and on Big Creek.