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Yosemite National Park’s historic Cemetery

00 Yosemite Cemetery

I’ve traveled to Yosemite National Park at least a dozen times in my life, always enjoying each visit, but it was not until my latest visit that I discovered it had a small historic cemetery in it.  

Yosemite Cemetery (also known as Pioneer Cemetery) is located in Yosemite Village, near the Yosemite Museum.  It’s quite secluded and peaceful, shaded by cedars and surrounded by a low split-rail fence.  The graves were originally scattered throughout the park but after President Lincoln signed the bill creating Yosemite National Park into law, the remains were collected into this small cemetery.

Pioneer Cemetery, Yosemite National Park

Pioneer Cemetery, Yosemite National Park

It’s interesting to stroll through and read the grave markers for people who died here, many of whom played important roles in the development of Yosemite National Park.  Some of the graves also belong to early park visitors and Native Americans.  Of course there’s a back-story for most of them.

Galen Clark Grave, Pioneer Cemetery, Yosemite National Park

Galen Clark Grave, Pioneer Cemetery, Yosemite National Park

One of those buried here is Galen Clark, a National Park Ranger. When Yosemite became a National Park there was no National Park Service and the US Army was in charge of its security.  Mr. Clark was the first civilian ranger of Yosemite. He had been a sickly young man but lived to the ripe age of 96.

The grave markers range from simple to quite elaborate.  Here’s some of those I photographed as I wandered through the cemetery during my visit, with a little added history as photo legends.

(Click on the thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)


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