Wednesday, August 25, 2010
LeConte Lives On
I did a presentation at the LeConte Memorial Lodge in Yosemite Valley the other night about Yosemite's two sister national parks in China. People do get pretty interested when they learn that Yosemite has sister parks, and then even moreso when they learn about the astonishing landscapes of those fellow World Heritage Sites. Yosemite Conservancy is bringing a group to those parks in a few weeks to do some hiking, birding and botanizing.
LeConte is a really unique Yosemite building. It was named for Sierra Club co-founder Joseph LeConte, a geology professor at Berkeley and a friend of John Muir's. A spectacular structure of massive granite blocks, it is further remarkable in that it is run as an educational facility by the Sierra Club. Muir and LeConte's little group of mountain-lovers has an important presence in the heart of their beloved Yosemite to this day.
As a wise man once noted that everything is connected: China has a serious forestry problem in the form of an invasive bark beetle accidentally introduced from the US and which was first scientifically described by LeConte's nephew, John Lawrence Le Conte (sic). The year that the LeConte Memorial Lodge was built by the Sierra Club (1904) is the same year that John Muir was observing botany - in China. It IS all connected...