YOSEMITE (CBS SF) – Yosemite became the first wildland in the nation protected for all-time 150 years ago when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act, protecting the Valley and Mariposa grove. Later, in 1890, it became a national park. Over the last 150 years the park has played host to a number of dignitaries and celebrities – as well as about 4 million regular visitors a year.
According to many accounts, the name Yosemite, as used by Miwoks from the surrounding area, means “those who kill.” Fortunately, the park has now has a reputation for serenity not warfare (unless you’re trying to book a reservation).
Here’s a selection of the reflective praise heaped on the park by some of the most notable visitors:
John Muir, conservationist
“It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.”
“Yosemite Park is a place of rest, a refuge from the roar and dust and weary, nervous, wasting work of the lowlands, in which one gains the advantages of both solitude and society. Nowhere will you find more company of a soothing peace-be-still kind. Your animal fellow beings, so seldom regarded in civilization, and every rock-brow and mountain, stream, and lake, and every plant soon come to be regarded as brothers; even one learns to like the storms and clouds and tireless winds. This one noble park is big enough and rich enough for a whole life of study and aesthetic enjoyment. It is good for everybody, no matter how benumbed with care, encrusted with a mail of business habits like a tree with bark. None can escape its charms. Its natural beauty cleans and warms like a fire, and you will be willing to stay forever in one place like a tree.
– John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, (1938) page 350. Find more of his quotes, from The Sierra Club.
Stephen Tyng Mather, First NPS Director
“The parks do not belong to one state or to one section. They have become democratized. The Yosemite, the Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon are national properties in which every citizen has a vested interest; they belong as much to the man of Massachusetts, of Michigan, of Florida, as they do to the people of California, of Wyoming, and of Arizona.”
– Read more quotes on the need for National parks from NPS
President Teddy Roosevelt – on camping in Yosemite
“It was like lying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more butiful than any built by the hand of man.”
– Read more of Roosevelt’s quotes from the National Parks Service.
Ansel Adams, Photographer
“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.”
– View his photos of the park from the The Ansel Adams Gallery.
Know of any other great quotes about Yosemite? Leave a comment below.