9. Like the idea of America itself, full of competing demands and impulses…the national park idea has been constantly debated, constantly tested, and is constantly evolving, ultimately embracing places that also preserve the nation’s first principles, its highest aspirations, its greatest sacrifices —even reminders of its most shameful mistakes. 10. Most of all the story of the national parks is the story of people . People from every conceivable background…People who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved—and in doing so, reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy. 11. From the very beginning, as they struggled over who should control their national parks, what should be allowed within their boundaries, even why they should exist at all, Americans have looked upon these wonders of nature and seen in them the reflection of their own dreams . 12. At the end of this segment William Cronon talks about our national parks representing the immensity and intimacy of time. The intimacy of time is that shared in these special places with other people. He concludes it is love of place, love of nation that the National Parks are meant to stand for.
Episode 1, Chapter 2 “Yosemite” 1. Early in 1851, during the frenzy of the California Gold Rush, an armed group of white men was scouring the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada searching for Indians, intent on driving the natives from their homeland . 2. They called themselves the Mariposa Batallion. Late in the afternoon the battalion came to a narrow valley surrounded by towering granite cliffs, where a series of waterfalls dropped thousands of feet to reach the Merced River on the valley’s floor. 3. One of the men, a young doctor named Lafayette Bunnell, stood there transfixed. 4. He wrote in his journal, “As I looked, a peculiar exalted sensation seemed to fill my whole being and I found my eyes in tears with emotion .” 5. The rest of the battalion did not share his enthusiasm and set fire to the Indian’s homes . 6. Since they were the first white men to enter the valley they chose to give it a name. It was named Yosemite because it was thought that was the name of the tribe they had come to dispossess. 7. Later, scholars would learn that in fact the natives called the valley Ahwahnee and that they called themselves the Ahwahneechee. Yosemite it was learned meant something entirely different. It refers to people who should be feared. It means “they are killers .” 8. In 1855, a second group of white people arrived in Yosemite Valley—this time as tourists , not Indian fighters. They were led by James Mason Hutchings. 9. Hutchings hoped to make a fortune by promoting California’s wonders through an illustrated magazine .
10. Many people were determined to see this wonderland. The trip required a two-day journey from San Francisco to the nearest town and then, with no wagon road into the valley, a grueling three-day trek by foot or horseback, up and down steep mountainsides on narrow, rocky paths.
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