Yosemite’s anniversary: Looking back at 150 years of paradise

06/30/2014 8:39 AM

06/30/2014 4:43 PM

Ron Mackie remembers picking up toilet paper for two weeks after Memorial Day 1970. About 1,500 “flower children” spent the holiday jammed into a lovely camping spot not far from Nevada Fall.

Yosemite National Park was going through another growth spurt as young people flocked to places where indoor plumbing was not a priority. And, as always, America’s mad love affair with this granite wonderland got more complicated.

How do you protect a national treasure while inviting the world — including 1,500 hippies — to come see it?

“Before that Memorial Day, you would see a few backpackers in the wilderness, and that was about it,” said Mackie, 79, a former Yosemite wilderness manager who worked decades in the park. “By 1970, it became a real challenge.”

But it shouldn’t have been a surprise. The worry over big crowds started in the 1860s shortly after Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act to protect Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias.

The topic will surely come up again as the National Park Service celebrates the 150th anniversary of the act on June 30, the date Lincoln signed it.

Continue reading Fresno Bee’s coverage of the anniversary

Here’s more coverage:

150 years: A Yosemite timeline

A list of events marking the annivesary

Photo gallery: Spring in Yosemite

Photo gallery: Yosemite’s past

Editor's Choice Videos

 

Join the Discussion

The Sacramento Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service