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Guardians of the Yosemite (1961) by John W. Bingaman


Chapter XVI

CONCESSIONAIRE—HIKERS CAMPS—LODGES

In 1916, the Desmond Park Company installed Tuolumne Meadow Lodge and Tenaya Lake Lodge on the Tioga Road for car travelers. The Merced Lake Camp in Merced Canyon is 15 miles by trail from Yosemite Valley. Making one of the lodges your headquarters is a wonderful way to see the Park.

Superintendent W. B. Lewis in 1923 recommended the creation of a public service to the hiker to enjoy the scenic high country. Thomas E. Farrow general manager of the Yosemite Park Company made plans for a number of “Hikers Camps.” In the fall of 1923, Carl P. Russell was sent out by the Superintendent to locate campsites. A company packer went along to handle the stock. The sites recommended were Little Yosemite, Merced Lake, Boothe Lake, Lyell Fork and Glen Aulin. Simple accommodations such as a mess and cook tent, dormitory tents, for both men and women were suggested, and the cost to be one dollar for meals and one dollar for lodging. These camps and accommodations were installed in 1924.

Some changes were made later. Glen Aulin Camp was established in 1927 and in 1938 the Tenaya Lake Camp was moved to May Lake, one mile from the Tioga Road near Mount Hoffmann. The Boothe Lake Camp after several years of operation was abandoned because of poor location. A new camp replaced it and was named Vogelsang Camp.

These hikers’ camps simplified the problem of getting the hikers out into the high country without too much burdensome back packing. Food and lodging were furnished at the moderate cost of four dollars per day. Many hikers take advantage of this type accommodation. Through the years it has proven very successful and the Yosemite Park and Curry Company have indeed rendered a fine service to the hikers and fishermen.

The Ahwahnee Hotel was built in 1927 and the old buildings at Kenn[e]yville were torn down. In 1932 the Big Tree Lodge was built in the Mariposa Grove on a site near Sunset Point. The old make-shift structure surrounding the Montana tree was then removed.

The new Yosemite Lodge was finished and occupied in 1956. This lodge serves many thousands of visitors each year.

Many of the Old Landmarks have gone to make room for new modem buildings. The Old Village on the south side of the Valley which was known from the pioneer days, and where headquarters of the Park, store and Park company offices served for more than half a century has finally been tom. down. A new super store and restaurant built by the Yosemite Park and Curry Company, on the north side of the valley now serves the visitors’ and employees’ needs. The John Degnans who started a small camp store back in the 80’s served the early visitors fresh homemade bread and milk, as well as

Kenneyville, 1918. My first job in Yosemite started here.
Kenneyville, 1918. My first job in Yosemite started here.
Sentinel Hotel in the early days of horse stages.
Sentinel Hotel in the early days of horse stages.
home cooked meals. This old store has been replaced by a new super restaurant in the New Village not far from the Company store.

The famous Old Sentinel Hotel along with the River and Ivy Cottages which accommodated many visitors through long years of service was tom down in 1938. With increased visitor use each year, it is a problem to keep abreast of the needs for accommodations in the Valley.

The Badger Pass Ski House and facilities were built in 1935. The supervision of this area is under the Yosemite Park and Curry Company. Here food and ski equipment is provided and also power lifts for the convenience of the visitors. Weekends and holidays five to eight hundred cars will be in the parking area at Badger Pass.

The rangers serve this area by handling the parking problems and also the First Aid Station. It keeps five rangers busy all day to take care of the safety of the skier and Park visitor.


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

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