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Discovery of the Yosemite in 1851--and the Indian war which led to that event

by Lafayette Houghton Bunnell, M.D., one of the Discoverers, of the Mariposa Battalion,

First published in 1880, this is the primary account of how Yosemite Valley came to be "discovered" by the civilizaton that would displace its residents. Native Americans knew the valley was there, of course; they were living in it when the battalion came to roust them out. Before the Battalion's trip, the valley had been seen from its rims and from afar by a few non-natives. But this event of 1851 was the first recorded entry and exploration by a new people. Bunnell proposed the name of the Indian tribe for the valley, "as it was suggestive, euphonious, and certainly American; that by so doing, the name of the tribe of Indians which we met leaving their homes in this valley, perhaps never to return, would be perpetuated."
Foreword by former chief park naturalist William R. Jones.

Period engravings. 184pages, slightly abridged from the original. more... ISBN-10: 0-89646-021-5. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-021-8. Order #: VIST0021 paper$6.95

Our Yosemite National Park.
by John Muir.

Among its forests and wild gardens, animals and birds, fountains and streams. At the turn of the century, John Muir described Yosemite National Park to readers of The Atlantic Monthly in the articles here reprinted. Just a decade before he had been so involved with the park idea that he became known as the "father of Yosemite National Park". Muir knew the park better than anyone else, and he had a gift for expression that keeps his fame and his works alive yet. The writing here is perhaps the best blend Muir gave of the Yosemite as a wild nature preserve. The ecological account is full, and we learn much of Muir's observations of the Yosemite birds, bears, and blossoms as well as its winters, earthquakes, glaciers, and forests.

Period illustrations. 96 pages.   more...
ISBN-10: 0-89646-061-4. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-061-4. Order #: VIST0061 paper$6.95


The Proposed Yosemite National Park--treasures & features, 1890.
by John Muir.

Perhaps the most important writing Muir ever did, for here he proposed a national park, which was soon established. He and his editor had hatched the scheme around a Tuolumne Meadows campfire, and so Muir became known as the "Father of Yosemite National Park." The writing is mostly descriptive, in Muir's magnificent style, covering the grand scenes, waterfall explorations, storm flooding, sequoias, glaciers, Hetch Hetchy Valley, and more. An included map shows Muir's proposed park boundaries, larger than today's, as one might imagine, for there was controversy about taking too much mineral land from potential production. Also shown is the watershed of the Yosemite Valley, as a major purpose of the new park was to protect the waterfalls of Yosemite Valley from upstream lumbering and sheep-grazing. At that time, Yosemite Valley was under state operation and the new park would not affect that; later, however, the valley was returned to federal management and the present park achieved its wholeness. Foreword by former Yosemite Chief Park Naturalist William Jones.

Reprinted from 1890, with period engravings. 32 pages. more....
ISBN-10: 0-89646-003-7. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-003-4. Order #: VIST0003 paper$3.95

The Yosemite in Winter: an 1892 account.
by James M. Carson, with extracts from John Muir's writings.

An appreciation of Yosemite Valley's winter character and an early history of the first winter residents, with plenty of quoted passages from John Muir, who also was a year-round valley resident in the early days. Reports of floods, in which trees were swept over the waterfalls, of the ice-cone at the base of Upper Yosemite Fall, snow-banners flying off rangecrest peaks, use of "snowshoes" (skis, today) to bring in the mail, winter-time climatic differences between north and south sides of this deep east-west trending valley due to shadows. Foreword by former Yosemite Chief Park Naturalist William Jones.

Period engravings. 16 pages. more....
ISBN-10: 0-89646-053-3. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-053-9. Order #: VIST0053 paper$3.95

Yosemite: the story behind the scenery

by William R. Jones, former Chief Naturalist of Yosemite National Park

Presents all aspects of the Yosemite story--geologic origin of the principal features, Indian history and "discovery" by early explorers plus role in conservation history as what has been called America's first national park (set aside in 1864 and before Yellowstone of 1872 but without the term "national park" in its formal establishment), scenery of the High Sierra, and ecology of the park's three giant sequoia groves. Revised in several new editions since release in 1971, now with over 860,000 copies in print. Color photos. National Park Service cooperating associations order from K. C. Publications.  more....

ISBN: 978-0-88714-234-5. Order #: KCPU0738 paper$11.95



Domes, Cliffs, Waterfalls: a brief geology of Yosemite Valley

by William R. Jones, former Chief Naturalist of Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite has the roundest domes, the sheerest cliffs, the highest waterfalls. Why?
This book gives the answers from geology. Published by Yosemite Conservancy.

Many photos and drawings, 21 pages. more...
Order #: HEYD1858



The Hummingbird of the California Waterfalls
by John Muir.

Reprinted from 1878. This has been called "the finest bird biography ever written". Muir's "waterfall hummingbird" is the water-ouzel, of course, now also called the dipper. Although Muir buffs and birders already know this, even they will enjoy reading or re-reading the story of this little bobber. Some might have seen this little bird, but without this article have not yet enjoyed the flyer/swimmer fully. As Muir's portrayal shows, much of the bird's intrigue is its physical elusiveness while remaining visually accessible. Enjoy this little story and enjoy this little bird. Foreword by former Chief Park Naturalist, Yosemite National Park. Period illustrations. 24 pages. more....

ISBN-10: 0-89646-019-3. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-019-5. Order #: VIST0019 paper$3.95

In the Heart of the California Alps: a near view of the High Sierra in 1872

by John Muir.

Account of the ascent of Mount Ritter, October, 1872. Record of one of Muir's finest mountain rambles and of the first ascent, a solo one, of this mountain in the Mammoth Lakes country of the eastern Sierra Nevada. Combines natural observations with the adventures and philosophical musings of a nearly fatal climb. Made from a base camp with three artists who were left sketching on the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. An illustration of Mt. Ritter by one of these artists, William Keith, is included. Drawings by Muir are also included, as well as other period illustrations. Foreword by former Yosemite Chief Park Naturalist. 24 pages. more....

ISBN-10: 0-89646-026-6. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-026-3. Order #: VIST0026 paper$3.95



A Rival of the Yosemite: The Caon of the South Fork of King's River, California

by John Muir.

As they had at Yosemite, Muir and his editor launched a campaign to get Kings Canyon set aside as a national park (some wanted to call it John Muir National Park), advising the law-givers to "make haste before it is too late". This writing was to be the stimulus. The park was not established, however, until 1940, when it was called Kings Canyon National Park. Muir's text is primarily descriptive, but as usual he includes personal adventures, in this case including a close encounter with a grizzly bear. Arguments for establishing the park are included, such as blocking grazing, lumbering, and mining. Text was reviewed by former Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park Chief Park Naturalist and foreword is by former Yosemite Chief Park Naturalist. Period engravings, with map showing proposed park boundary. 24 pages. more....

ISBN-10: 0-89646-010-X. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-010-2.  Order #: VIST0010 paper$3.95



The Wild Sheep
by John Muir.

Here the early naturalist-writer glorifies the mountain sheep, or bighorn, of the Sierra Nevada. In Muir's time (1881 is the date of this writing), sheep were still to be seen on his High Sierra rambles. He notes the distribution of sheep and their various species as well as their physical characteristics, and he also describes their mountain home where they lived, "the happy wanderers, perhaps relishing the beauty as well as the taste of the lovely flora on which they feed." But as always his finest sections are where he describes the sheep themselves and how they move about on cliff walls, fine four-legged mountaineers. Today, park and wildlife agencies are reestablishing populations of wild sheep in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere, and we may thank Muir in part for this, as his writing helped keep our appreciation alive for them. Reviewed by Chief Park Naturalists at Yosemite and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Period engravings. 32 pages. more....

ISBN-10: 0-89646-017-7. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-017-1. Order #: VIST0017 paper$3.95

Do you remember Dr. Carl W. Sharsmith (1903-1994)? (Carl was a Yosemite ranger-naturalist and San Jose State College/University botany professor with over 60 summers at Tuolumne Meadows and a herbarium in his name at San Jose State College/University.) A proposal was made to name a Yosemite mountain peak for him, with the Name4Carl Committee taking the lead. This committee is of National Park Service people who have had tours of duty  at Yosemite whose Carl's tour touched. William R. "Bill" Jones, principal of VistaBooks and author of this VistaBooks website is the Lead Member of the Sharsmith Peak Committee. The proposal, however, was not approved by the federal Board on Geographic Names in spite of supporting statements from most living past Yosemite superintendents and National Park Service directors. The mountain selected for this naming effort is nevertheless becoming known informally as Sharsmith Peak. A next step to gain formal recognition would be to recommend the naming to members of the U.S. Congress and ask for legislative establishment. Interested? View the  Sharsmith Peak website: exits this website.  And, email the committee.




Follow this link to exits for insights on the park and its history by a park insider--Dave Hubbard, son of long-time chief park naturalist Douglass Hubbard. Dave grew up in the park and has put together a refreshingly different park guide some 40 years afterwards.

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