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Yosemite: the Park and its Resources (1987) by Linda W. Greene


CHAPTER IX: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INTERPRETATION, CULTURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT, AND FURTHER RESEARCH

A. Interpretation and Cultural Resources Management 1041
B. Further Research 1042

The author’s recommendations relative to cultural resources management, interpretive efforts, and further studies that would enhance understanding and protection of Yosemite’s historical resources include:

A. Interpretation and Cultural Resources Management

1. Increasing interpretation of related historical, natural resource, and construction projects. For instance, in the Old Village area it would be enlightening to show pictures of the early buildings, explain the area’s history and land use, and discuss the naturalization process.

2. Undertaking a backcountry survey. Proposals for a Wilderness Historic Resources Survey and Historic Base Map Revision have been submitted for consideration. Information gathered would be added to the park Geographic Information System and onto new maps. The survey would search out blazes, old trails, cabins, and other historical features over a period of eight summers. National Register nominations should be prepared as part of the project.

3. Undertaking a trail, bridge, and dam survey throughout the park, including recordation of cobbled trail sections and retaining banks, culverts, and associated trail maintenance campsites. The project should include the man-made dams in the valley stream system. Again National Register evaluations should be made.

4. Undertaking archeological studies of historical properties within the park, especially in Yosemite Valley, and at El Portal, Glacier Point, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Tuolumne Meadows, Hetch Hetchy, Foresta/Big Meadow, and in the backcountry. Archeological remains of historic properties have not been investigated to any great extent and could turn out to be a rich source of material culture, yielding information relative to the socioeconomic development and historic occupation of Yosemite and the Sierra in general.

5. Training new and seasonal employees, especially those working in the backcountry, in the value of historical resources and the park’s need to protect them against relic hunters and vandals.

6. Establishing a full-time historian position to provide detailed reports on sites and structures to be impacted by park construction or development, to be on hand to make evaluations of unrecorded resources as needed, to monitor earth-disturbing activities and record cultural aspects of the work, and to perform title checks on individual properties in inholding areas as needed.

B. Further Research

Much additional information is available on the park’s legislative and administrative history. Some of this material could be included in a comprehensive administrative history encompassing the administrative differences and the development of regulations, policies, and programs under the state of California, the U. S. Army, and the National Park Service. Because of the volume of information, however, and the long-term impact of Yosemite developments on later Park Service policies and programs, it might be more useful to attempt several administrative histories focusing on different aspects of park development, such as:

natural resource management, including such topics as fire and predator control; forestry, including insect diseases and blister rust control; and wildlife management;
the development and changing philosophy and techniques of trail construction, especially in the backcountry;
the significance of Hetch Hetchy in relation to the question of exploiting and exporting park resources;
the role of conservation groups in park development, discussing the affect of the growing conservation philosophy on logging activity and power generation and including discussion of the Sierra Club involvement through the years and the later growth of the Yosemite Institute, a nonprofit organization helping the park with its educational and environmental programs. The study would include how their organizational changes related to park developments;
the development of the Park Service museum program and interpretive division;
the growth of cooperative associations;
Master Plan efforts of the 1960s and 1970s; and
MISSION 66.

The Park would also profit from historic structure reports on some buildings, such as Parsons Lodge and the old Administration and Museum buildings. Special history studies might cover such topics as:

backcountry settlement, including when people first entered the park, where they settled, how they used the land, and how they marked and used trails; and
the logging industry, including activities within the park and in the broader context of the Sierra lumber industry, including a discussion of its impact on national park values and the local economy.



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