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Galen Clark - Conservationist, Mariposa Grove & The Giant Sequoias

By: C.M.Shorter

Galen Clark, Conservation Leader "Discovered Mariposa Grove in 1857 with
Milton Mann

Galen Clark
Photo Credit:
Yosemite Library


Both President Roosevelt and John Muir had traveled into Mariposa Grove, Tuolomne and Merced Groves to witness Yosemite’s regal Giant Sequoia and Coastal Redwood stands.  Both agreed these ancient monarchs were also in need of Federal protection, as was the whole of Yosemite.  They were not alone in their reverence of these ancient forests.

Mariposa Grove was discovered by Galen Clark and Milton Mann in 1857.   Galen Clark suffered from tuberculosis during his years as a young man and was given a dismal prognosis with not many years to live.  It was then Clark decided to take his chances with life or death in the heart of the rugged outdoor wilderness of the Sierra Nevada.  The Gold Rush into the foothills of the Sierras brought many travelers into the Redwood & Sequoia forests and logging carving away at these forests was becoming a major threat.  Standing within the beautiful forest of Mariposa Grove was the General Grant Tree discovered in 1862 by Joseph Harden, five years after Mariposa Grove’s initial discovery. 

John Muir traveled Yosemite Valley, the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges & wilderness with Galen Clark, a very good friend, fellow conservationist and naturalist.  Muir found Clark’s skills as a mountain man impeccable.  John Muir’s writings tells us that Galen Clark chose a plot in Yosemite Cemetery on the north side of the valley near Yosemite Falls 20 years before his death. 

“Galen Clark’s Grave”
(March 28, 1814 – March 24, 1910) Yosemite Cemetery Galen Clark’s Grave
Photo Credit:
Yosemite Library


Clark hand carried seedlings from the Giant Sequoias he had become sentry to for over 24 years of his life.   He planted them around the spot he had chosen in preparation for his final resting place.

Galen Clark survived tuberculosis, living until the age of 96 being the oldest citizen and voter in Mariposa County at the time.  He  was laid to rest among the very Sequoias he had planted & he spent his life serving. Nature does take care of her own and now it is the Giant Sequoias that stand sentry to Galen Clark, a living memorial in testament to our nation’s famous & perhaps most dedicated “Tree-Hugger”.

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Also: General Grant Tree | Cedar key | Yosemite National Park
Related: John Muir |
Ansel Adams | Theodore Roosevelt | The Florida Everglades

More on Florida Everglades:
Florida Everglades | Pictures of Florida Everglades | Map of Florida Everglades | Animals Florida Everglades | Marjory Stoneman Douglas | Everglades Endangered Species
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