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Self-guiding Auto Tour of Yosemite National Park (1956) by Richard P. Ditton and Donald E. McHenry


SOME WILDLIFE AND PLANTS OF YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

California Wildcat
[click to enlarge]
California Wildcat
One of the most common animals seen in the park is the mule deer, especially evident in Yosemite Valley and occasionally along roads above the valley. Although less frequently seen, black bear are not uncommon in the valley and are seen occasionally outside of this area. Although these animals are interesting photographic subjects they are still wild animals and are dangerous. Regulations against feeding them are for your protection. You may also see various squirrels and chipmunks, coyotes, bobcats, porcupines, marmots, and a variety of small rodents. Rarely you may catch a glimpse of the mountain lion (cougar). A more complete account of these, together with other kinds of mammals in the park, is given in “Mammals of Yosemite” which, along with “Reptiles and Amphibians of Yosemite National Park” and “Birds of Yosemite,” is available at the museums and gift shops.


PONDEROSA PINE—Easily recognized by the large jig saw puzzle-like sections of bark
[click to enlarge]
PONDEROSA PINE—Easily recognized by
the large jig saw puzzle-like sections of
bark.
BLACK OAK—Characterized by the almost clear trunk. It’s many spreading branches often 10 feet or more from the ground
[click to enlarge]
BLACK OAK—Characterized by the almost
clear trunk. It’s many spreading branches
often 10 feet or more from the ground.

Lizards and their relatives will be seen- scampering over warm rocks at stopping points. Numerous toads and frogs furnish a lusty spring chorus from the wet meadows. Seen infrequently will be snakes, all of which are interesting and even beautiful.

Fishing is an important phase of recreation in the park. The 5 game fish are trout and include rainbow, brown, eastern brook, cutthroat, and golden. You may read more about them in “Fishes of Yosemite.”

Thirty-five species of trees are native to the park. Of these 18 are broad-leaved, dropping their leaves in autumn, and 17 cone-bearing evergreens. The dominant forest trees along the park roads are indicated throughout this guide. More complete descriptions can be had in the pamphlets “Cone-bearing Trees” and “Broad-leaved Trees.”

Wildflowers along park roads vary according to season and altitude. Common throughout most of the season are blue lupines, varying from meadow lupine in dense, short-stemmed stands to large widely separated shrubs. In the valley the four-to-six feet tall cow parsnip, with its huge leaves and umbrella-like heads of small white flowers 6 to 10 inches across, are conspicuous in the spring, followed shortly by the reddish-purple flower cluster of the showy milk-weed, the favorite plant of the migrating monarch butterflies. The well-known blackeyed susan is becoming an increasing summer attraction in the valley meadows, giving way in autumn to the delicate, haze-like lilac coloring over the meadow from innumerable Lessingia, with their slender stems about 12 inches high. Along dry roadsides above the valley clusters of orange western wall flowers will be seen along with groups of the cup-shaped purple or pinkish farewell-to-spring and its close relatives. In early summer the wet woodland meadows above the valley are attractive with mass displays of the rose pink Sierra shooting star intermingled with the yellow of the daisy-like senecio, the brodiaea, buttercup, common monkey flower, the blue of the western blue flag, mountain bluebell, Sierra forget-me-not, blue camas, and the red of the gilia and the scarlet mimulus. “Mountain Misery,” more properly known as its Indian name Kit-kit-dizze, is a low fernlike plant with finely divided foliage forming fragrant carpets in the open pine forests of the middle and lower elevations. The odor is noticeable on warm days especially along the road between Wawona and the South Entrance Station.

LODGEPOLE PINE—Can be identified by the relatively smooth bark
[click to enlarge]
LODGEPOLE PINE—Can be identified by
the relatively smooth bark.

Conspicuous in upland meadows is the corn lily growing in patches with leaves 6 to 12 inches long. When young it looks like a form of skunk cabbage but later develops a 3 to 6-foot high stem supporting an attractive mass of small white flowers. With the approach of autumn the leaves die and form patches of straw-colored dried-up vegetation.

One of the most amazing and attractive plants in the park is the rare blood-red snow plant found growing out of the litter on the floor of pine forests until near the end of June, depending on the altitude. It is protected by both park regulations and State law. (The pamphlet “Common Wildflowers of Yosemite” will give you further information about flowers.)



Illustrations in this pamphlet are credited as follows: To Ralph Anderson: Three Brothers, p. 69, Yosemite Falls, p. 70, Half Dome, p. 71, Sentinel Rock, p. 76, El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall, p. 77, Exlofiating Granite, p. 80, Covered Bridge, p. 81, Grizzly Giant, p. 83, Mariposa Grove Museum, p. 84, Exhibit and Overlook at Glagier Point, p. 92, Carl Inn, p. 95. Ancient Folded Rocks, p. 106, California Wildcat, p. 110; Volney J. Westley: Features from Valley View, p. 68; Ralph dePfyffer: Mirror Lake in Spring, p. 72; Onos Ward: Royal Arches, North Dome and Washington Column, p. 73, and Yosemite Valley from Tunnel Overlook, p. 78; Garibaldi—courtesy of Laurence Degnan: Scene in Old Yosemite Village, p. 74; Henry G. Peabody: General View of Wawona and Wawona Hotel, p. 82; Donald E. McHenry: Merced Canyon View, p. 88; Wayne W. Bryant: Profile of Clark Range, p. 89, Profile of High Sierra from Glacier Point, p. 90, Profile of Skyline from Dana Meadow, p. 103; Dorothy Moyer: Features of Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point, p. 91; Celia Crocker Thompson—courtesy of Margaret Schlichtmann: Hodgdon’s Historic Ranch, p. 94; Celia Crocker Thompson: Former Gobin’s Hotel, p. 96; Robert N. McIntyre: Siesta Lake, Old Tioga Road, p. 97, Mt. Hoffman, p. 99; courtesy of Mrs. Emma Footman: Madera Flume, p. 109; Ansel Adams: Ponderosa Pine and Black Oak, p. 111, Lodgepole Pine, p. 112. All other illustrations are either from the National Park Service collection or are of unknown origin.


at any season an appropriate gift Yosemite Nature Notes
[click to enlarge]

A subscription for you or gift subscriptions for your friends will bring the Yosemite story, told accurately and interestingly, twelve times a year.

Each subscription: 1 year $1.50; 2 years $2.50; 3 years $3.50.

Revenue from the activities of the Yosemite Natural History Association is devoted entirely to assisting the park naturalist division in the furtherance of research and interpretation of the natural and human story in Yosemite National Park.

Send subscriptions to:

YOSEMITE NATURAL HISTORY ASSOCIATION, INC.
BOX 545, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA

CROWN PTG & LITHO. CO. Union bug: Allied Printing Trades Council Union Label 5



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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

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