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


Chapter XV

SIERRA CLUB OF CALIFORNIA

The Sierra Club was organized in 1892 and John Muir was its first president. The year of 1898 a building in the Valley was granted to the club by the State Commissioners and equipped as local headquarters. It was used as a public reading room and bureau of information.

Joseph Le Conte, who was a faculty member at the University of California in 1869 made his first trip to Yosemite in 1870. He devoted much time to Sierra studies and also the geology of the Yosemite region and has published results of this work. He died in the Valley in 1901. The Le Conte Memorial Lodge in Yosemite Valley built by the Sierra Club in 1903 commemorates his work.

In 1912 the club purchased the Soda Springs property in the Tuolumne Meadows which formerly was the homestead taken up by John B. Lembert in 1885. E. T. Parsons a prominent member of the Sierra Club was commemorated by the building of the Memorial Lodge on this property. This has been used ever since as headquarters and shelter during their summer outings. The first of the High Sierra Outings took place in 1901.

The Sierra Club has headquarters in San Francisco, California. They usually come to the Park every other summer for a long trip into the high country. Some years there would be as many as one hundred and fifty hikers on these trips. The food and camp gear would be packed by some reliable packer. Allie Robinson and Bruce Morgan handled the packing for a number of years.

These trips are organized and conducted by officers of the Sierra Club. Many members of the club take this method of seeing the Park as the expenses are reasonable and afford an opportunity for people to enjoy a pack trip.

I recall a very pleasant experience in July 1941. The Sierra Club was taking their Outing in the north end of the Park with 125 members. They camped each evening at designated camp sites, usually at one of the beautiful mountain lakes or streams. While the party camped at Tilden Lake, I was invited to join them. I remember particularly Richard Leonard was most hospitable and insisted that I be their guest for a day or two. I was on routine inspection of the trails so it was convenient for me to be with this interesting Outing. Tilden Lake is one of the most scenic alpine lakes in the Park and a camper’s paradise.

Francis Farquhar, an active member and official of the Sierra Club for many years, was married in the Le Conte Lodge December 21, 1934. Rangers had the pleasure of attending this wedding and reception in full uniform.

The Sierra Club Rock Climbing Section has functioned for a number of years and it has been very successful in advancing the techniques of rock climbing. Needless to say this sport takes practice and steady nerves. The club has assisted the rangers in many searches and rescues. They generously offer their assistance in all emergency cases.

Without a doubt the Sierra Club has contributed a great deal in helping to protect the policies of the National Parks.


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

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