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[Yosemite]

A curious cutout in the Wilderness

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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A curious cutout in the Wilderness

Postby MadDiver » Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:55 pm

I've been reading lots of trip reports lately, looking at maps and playing on Google Earth and came across a curious area. About 1/2 way between the Hetch Hetchy entrance and the reservoir itself, to the West of the road there is a rectangular cutout (roughly 0.5 x 0.25 miles) in the Wilderness. While one map shows a trail through the area there does not seem to be any type of infrastructure/buildings/towers/tanks etc... Anyone know why this cutout is present? Was there something there years ago that is gone now? (sorry was going to include a pic but photobucket isn't working for me right now...) The area is just N of where the road almost goes in a complete circle.
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Re: A curious cutout in the Wilderness

Postby Phil » Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:37 pm

Shhhh! We're not supposed to talk about that (wink, wink) UFO landing site. Now we have to ban you from traveling to Ca. for even noticing it. #Damn satellites!

I think I see the anomaly you're talking about. Can't say for sure, because I don't know and have never been in it, but it's possibly an old quarry site. Takes a lot of material to build roads and dams, and trucking is expensive and time consuming, so if closeby native rock is usable, native rock it is. See if you can get your photo bucket to work and post an image.
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Re: A curious cutout in the Wilderness

Postby MadDiver » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:30 am

Lol, the Yosemite Area 51.

Looking back, my my writing was a bit sloppy. I don't mean an actual physical cut to the land but instead there is an area inside the Officially designated Wilderness that is not designated Wilderness. Also a little odd that it wouldn't be connected to the "non-wilderness" road that's right there if it had been used for some type of infrastructure/quarry.

Image
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Re: A curious cutout in the Wilderness

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:51 am

Inholdings are common in parks. That's just a private square of land with an easement through it for the trail.
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Re: A curious cutout in the Wilderness

Postby Phil » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:05 am

An inholding deliniation would explain it on a map, but I thought we were talking about a clearing showing up on a satellite image. Oh well, thanks for the clarification, but it's nowhere near as fun trying to figure it out.
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Re: A curious cutout in the Wilderness

Postby MadDiver » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:48 am

I guess I was just curious as to why this inholding exists (especially because there isn't anything seen in the satellite image)... others: Aspen valley, White Wolf are fairly well known and have some history, I can't find much on this one but I did find this in the history section (http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/guard ... etchy.html): "In 1915, a saw mill was established in Canyon Ranch, four and a half miles from Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite National Park, to supply lumber for the construction project. Six million board feet of lumber were cut and the timber supply was exhausted so the mill was moved in 1919 to Hog Ranch." This is the only reference I can find to Canyon Ranch though. There is a flat area along the river in that area that could have hosted a sawmill. Also interesting is this map: http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/yosem ... _map_4.jpg While it's difficult to judge based on the scale it shows an "Archeological District" at (roughly) that location. None of the other historic maps I've pulled up show anything. Pretty much an idle curiosity on a rainy day...
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Re: A curious cutout in the Wilderness

Postby Dave_Ayers » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:42 pm

The City of San Francisco ended up with at least a couple of tracts. The one you are looking at is 80 acres. If you look at it on a gridded topo map with 640 acre (1mi x 1mi) sections, you will see it is 1/8th of section 30. There is also a 160 acre piece in section 12 in Miguel Meadows. I don't know why the City ended up with those two sections, but it dates way back, probably even prior to Dam(n) construction. The Yosemite Gurus over at yosemitenews.info may be able to shed more light. You might also check this source from 1973: https://books.google.com/books?id=gDc3A ... ss&f=false
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Re: A curious cutout in the Wilderness

Postby MadDiver » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:18 am

Thanks Dave. I think that pretty much answers the question. Interestingly: "No use by the city has been made of either tract by the city since acquisition fifty years ago." (written in '73)
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Re: A curious cutout in the Wilderness

Postby Phil » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:14 pm

MD- I'll speculate a little here, but according to the historical map on the second link you posted (without me getting too much into cross referencing, but seemingly correlating with the road curve) it appears that there was at one time a "pioneer cabin" on that tract. The City of SF would've grabbed up everything west of the dam site it could've. What I saw as an anomaly in the terrain (flat area/depression?) on the sat image might have been something that they felt that they could've used as one of the "dump sites" for tunneling that Dave's link referenced. It doesn't appear that there are any spoils or tailings on that site, but if they had it, why give it back if it ever might be useful?
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