The Yosemite Valley got its name in 1851 by an expedition battalion that came upon the valley while trying to dispose of the American Indian tribes that settled there. The battalion thought that “Yosemite” was the name the tribes had give the area, but they were mistaken. The tribes called Yosemite Valley, “Ahwahnee” which means, “the place of the gaping mouth” and the tribe’s name was Ahwahneechees. According to the tribal language, “Yosemite” was the word used to describe threatening people and it translates into “among them are killers.”
– Yosemite National Park was the third national park to be signed into law on October 1, 1890.
– In 1918, Clare Marie Hodge became the first woman ranger in Yosemite. World War I had created job shortages all around the country with few men to fill them, so they turned to women. According to the Yosemite website, “[Clare] applied to the superintendent, Washington B. Lewis, and said, ‘Probably you’ll laugh at me, but I want to be a ranger.’ He responded, ‘I beat you to it, young lady. It’s been on my mind for some time to put a woman on one of these patrols.’ Her job consisted of taking the gate receipts from Tuolumne Meadows to park headquarters, an overnight ride on horseback.”
– Yosemite first hit 1 million visitors annually in 1954 and 2 million in 1967. Now the annual visitors average between 3.5 and 4 million.
Duncan, Dayton. The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.