An Environmental History Of The Sierra Nevada
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: University of Nevada Press
List of Illustrations
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The Sierra Nevada—John Muir called it the “Range of Light, the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen.” For those of us who come after him to write about it, that creates a problem. We are forever seeking to find a name that can trump the Scottish-born mountaineer and writer. We strive to come up...
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A good many people have played a role in the making of this book over a great number of years. Closest to hand are the supportive people at the University of Nevada Press. Margaret Dalrymple initially expressed interest in my work as editor-in-chief of the press in 1999, when it was a much longer manuscript, and she continued to...
Introduction: Major Forces That Have Shaped the Sierra Nevada
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Here are some environmental basics about the Sierra to get to a common starting point. Another historian might favor a different set, but I chose these because they figure significantly in the range’s human history and at the same time provide a good introduction to what makes the Sierra Nevada unique...
1: A Sierra Shaped by Native People
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For the Ahwahnichi of the south-central Sierra Nevada, Yosemite Valley was an everyday place. It was loved, to be sure, and the people who considered it part of their home territory have struggled to maintain their ties to it regardless of the efforts of military conquerors and federal authorities to deny their rights of ownership and occupation.1 This...
2: The Sierra Gold Made
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From the South Fork of the Yuba River at Edwards Crossing, you can look upstream from the aging metal-and-wood bridge to the North Bloomfield–Graniteville Road as it continues its winding progress toward the old hydraulic-mining town of North Bloomfield. North Bloomfield is now incorporated into a California state park. It is...
3: Conservation Shapes the Sierra Nevada, 1864-1900 [Includes Image Plates]
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What a people or an individual says about a place is a reflection of the cultural values that guide their thinking. Thus the Ahwahnichi account of their arrival into Yosemite Valley tells us today what these natives valued in the natural world they inhabited. In the same way, gold miner and gold-rush publicist James Delavan made it clear that...
4: Establishing Resource Management, 1905-1945
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The role of the federal government as manager of public lands is an established idea today, even if the details of how those lands are managed remain subject to conflict. There is no one living who remembers the time when something called the Government Land Office parceled out federal land in the West under the provisions of the Homestead...
5: The Philosophy of "More," 1940-1970 [Includes Image Plates]
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Social and economic values change with time. What is sought by one generation is often rejected by its successors. The time following the end of World War II was a watershed in Sierra Nevada, California, and national resource history. After a decade of economic collapse, the war and postwar years saw the state’s and the nation’s natural resources...
6: The Environmental Challenge, 1960-1999
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The complex social and political responses to environmental concerns after 1960 had their own dynamic. They took a distinct turn away from earlier conservation activities. Older ideals of resource husbanding and saving beautiful areas for public recreation were supplanted in the decades from 1960 to the 1980s by a broader environmental...
7: The Sierra in Peril and Ecosystem Politics
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On Sunday morning, June 9, 1991, readers of the Sacramento Bee opened their paper to a front page dominated by images of the Sierra Nevada. Bold headlines proclaimed, “Majesty and Tragedy: The Sierra in Peril.” At the top of page one, a color panel showed the starkly beautiful southeastern Sierra Nevada escarpment. Mount Whitney rose...
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Page Count: 464
Illustrations: 67 b/w photos, 6 b/w illustrations, 2 maps
Publication Year: 2004