Galen Clark
Discovered Mariposa Grove, guardian of Yosemite for 21 years – 2009

Clark (1814-1910) is best known for his discovery of the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia trees and for his role as guardian of Yosemite National Park for 21 years. In 1853, Clark had tuberculosis and doctors gave him six months to live. He then moved to the Wawona area of Yosemite as a homesteader. His lungs healed and he subsequently explored and climbed much of what became Yosemite National Park.

Upon his discovery of the Mariposa Grove, Clark persuaded Congress to pass the Yosemite Grant, which provided first-of-a-kind park-like protection for the Mariposa Grove. Clark then became the first civilian ranger of Yosemite.

He ran a hotel in Wawona and wrote three books, including “Indians of the Yosemite” (1904) and “The Yosemite Valley” (1910). After being told he would die a young man, he lived to be 96 and is buried in the Yosemite Cemetery. Said Clark: “I went to the mountains to take my chances of dying or growing better, which I thought were about even.”