Yosemite National Park History includes the Miwok Indians and John Muir. John Muir forged a campaign for Yosemite to become a National Park. Most of the trails that we hike today in Yosemite National Park, were walked and mapped out by John Muir himself.
The first people to live in Yosemite were Native Americans. It is estimated that they lived here 8,000 years ago. The Miwok Indians are probably the most recognized of the many tribes who lived here at one time or another. The Miwok's did not call this place Yosemite. They called it Ahwahnee. Ahwahnee means "Place of a Gaping
Mouth". In Yosemite valley there is one very nice hotel. It is called the Ahwahnee Hotel.
When your down in Yosemite valley you'll want to go to the Visitors Center. Behind the Visitors Center there is a very nice Miwok village setup that you can walk through. There is also an adjacent museum, a theater room and a store. All of this together will give you a great hands on history of the Miwok Indians and what their life style was like.
At Yosemite's Visitor Center, you'll learn that Yosemite Valley was carved out millions of years ago. The fires inside the belly of the earth heated up the magma built up the granite rocks here in Yosemite. Over millions of years, erosion exposed the beautiful granite rocks. Then water and ice carved through the granite over time. What was left, was beautiful Yosemite.
The Native American Indians lived off of the land by hunting and fishing. The women of the tribe harvested acorns from Yosemite's black oak trees and ground them into flour for cooking.
The gold rush in the Sierra foothills of California brought miners to the nearby area. The Indians attacked those who came after the gold. In return, the western miners captured the Indians and took them out of Yosemite Valley. Eventually, the Indians returned to Yosemite Valley.
In 1855, tourists started coming to see Yosemite. In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant which let Yosemite Valley and the local Mariposa Grove to become a public reserve. On October 1, 1890 Yosemite became a National Park.
Although Yosemite Valley is about seven square miles, the National Park covers more than 1200 square miles. That means that 95% of Yosemite National Park is designated wilderness. (The whole area is about the size of Rhode Island) The National Park status covers more than just Yosemite Valley. It also covers the high mountainous country above the valley and Mariposa Grove. The nearby Mariposa Grove houses some of the largest trees in the world.
Here is an interesting fact:The first tourists to Yosemite National Park came in by horseback and stagecoaches! Yep! That's right, they would come on the trails that the Indians made. Just a little bit of Yosemite National Park History.
Yosemite National Park history also includes the Rangers Club. The Rangers Club is still standing today. This was a special building for the early park rangers to come and rest on their days off.
Check out the site Undiscovered Yosemite. It gives you some more of the history of Yosemite from the perspective of Dave who grew up in the park. His father was Yosemite's chief park naturalist!
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