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El Portal Market Burns in Yosemite National Park

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Date: April 21, 2008

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?

American Indians use traditional ignition methods on a prescribed fire project

The indigenous people of Yosemite Valley have used fire as a tool for thousands of years. Fire was used to encourage the growth of plants used for basket making and to promote the growth of the black oak--a sun loving species--and a staple food source for American Indians from this region.