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itous sides at the lower end. On the north side the traveller may start from Big Oak Flat, or Coulterville, the latter being of late years the point usually selected. Although there is a wagon road from Coulterville as far as Black's, seventeen miles, travellers generally start from the first named place on horseback, ride seventeen miles and stop at Black's over night, and the next day ride into the valley; the total distance being forty-nine miles, of which seventeen are made the first day and thirty-two ihe second. The hotels in the valley being both on the south side of the Merced, travellers arriving from Coulterville, until recently, had to cross by a ferry after descending into the valley, as it is only rarely, and then very late in the season, that the river can be forded. This is the ferry noticed above as claimed by Mr. Folsom, and it is situated three quarters of a mile below the Lower IIotel. sible, however, to ride up the valley on the north side of the river, and cross at a bridge directly opposite Hutchings' Hotel; but a portion of the trail is apt to be boggy, and another part is very rocky, there being much the best ground for a road on the other side. To avoid the delay of the ferry, therefore, and to make it possible for visitors to ride entirely around the valley, the Commissioners have had a substantial bridge erected at the foot of the Bridal Veil meadow, not far from the placo where the trail descends from the north. This will enable travellers to make the tour of the valley, after the trail on the north side has been put in good order, and, early in the season, when that side is boggy, to avoid inconvenience and also to avoid the delay and expense of the ferry.
The Commissioners have also expended a small amount on the improvement of the trail from the valley up the cañon of the Merced to the Vernal Fall, so that visitors can ride nearly to the foot of this fall, thus rendering a visit to this interesting portion of the Yosemite much easier than it bas formerly been. They have also placed a bridge across the river above the Vernal Fall, making the trip to the summit of the Nevada Fall a matter of no great difficulty, this having been an extremely long and fatiguing trip before the bridge was built. The same bridge gives access to new and admirable views of the Nevada Fall, and also to Mount Broderick, or the Cap of Liberty, and is, on the whole, a quite important addition to the convenience of travellers.
The building of the bridge at the lower end of the valley .does away with the necessity for a ferry, and the convenience of the public requires that a set of steps, or staircase, should be erected at the Vernal Fall, in place of the present ladders, which are awkward and perhaps even dangerous for ladies to climb. The Commissioners propose, therefore, next year to place a convenient and commodious staircase near the present ladders, leading by an easy and safe ascent to the top of the fall.
Since the valley came into the hands of the State, but little has been done to improve the means of access to it from either the Coulterville or Mariposa side. From Mariposa there is a wagon road as far as White & Hatch's, and indeed some two miles further, but persons usually take horses at Bear Valley or Mariposa. Last season, however, arrangements were made so that travellers could be driven to White & Hatch's, riding from there to Clark's the same day, if desired; the trail between these two last mentioned places is very good, so that it is not difficult for moderately good riders to make the trip from Mariposa to the Yosemite in two days or in three, if one day be allowed for visiting the Big Trees four miles from Clark's ranch.
The best method, undoubtedly, to see the Yosemite Valley and the Big Tree Grove is for the traveller to make the round trip, starting from Coulterville and returning to Mariposa, or vice versa. The accommodations are good at Black's on the Coulterville side, and at Clark's on the other side, and there are the usual stopping places on the way in and out of the valley. But as Black's is only seventeen miles from Coulterville, the distance is quite unequally divided on that side by the " Halfway House," so that one day's ride is quite fatiguing, being about thirtytwo miles. This may be avoided, however, by establishing a public house at Deer Flat, and straightening the road, which now is extremely circuitous, the distance from Coulterville to Deer Flat being only a little over twelve miles in a direct line, wbile it is nearly double that by the present trail.
The trail on the Coulterville side passes the Bower Cave, a curiosity well worth seeing, while on the Mariposa side the views from the trail descending into the valley are sublime, and such as cannot be obtained from any other points. It is for the traveller to decide whetber he prefers getting these, grand general views of the valley after he has already been there, or on his way into it. If he wishes to have the whole grandeur of the Yosemite revealed to him at once, he will enter the valley on the Mariposa side; if, on the other hand, he prefers to see the various points in succession, one after another, and then, finally, as he leaves the valley, to bave these glorious general views as a kind of summing up of the whole, he will enter by the Coulterville and depart by the Mariposa side. In that case much the bardest day's work will be the second, or the ride from Black's into the valley.
A wagon road can be made without much difficulty from Black's to the Ige of the valley; but to construct one into the valley, down the cliffs on that side, would be extremely difficult and expensive, if, indeed, possible at all. On the south side a wagon road can be made into the valley, but the expense would be very considerable, probably not less than thirty thousand dollars. A considerable saving of time and labor for those not accustomed to riding horseback, could be made by continuing the wagon road from White & Hatch's to Clark's, which could probably be done in good shape for about ten thousand dollars.
The Commissioners do not, however, consider it any part of their duty to improve the approaches to the valley or Big Trees; this may safely be left to the competition of the counties, towns, and individuals interested in securing the travel. A small expenditure, on either side, will will bring the Yosemite to within one day's easy ride on horsebackthat is to say, easy for persons somewbat accustomed to mountain travel. And when a wagon road shall have been extended from Coulterville to the brow of the valley on that side, and to Clark's on the other, the trip need no longer be one which will over-fatigue travellers in ordinary health, provided they do not attempt to make the journey in the smallest possible number of days, thus sacrificing everything to the single idea of getting through the journey rapidly.
In the valley, the Commissioners are desirous of continuing the work begun by thein, of making all the most interesting points as accessible as possible, and of removing all obstacles to free circulation. The road around the valley requires improving; the trail to the Vernal Fall needs some additional work to make it secure; a bridge must be built over the Illiluette Fork, and a staircase up the Vernal Fall. A bridge across the Merced at the upper end of the valley, and one across the Tenaya Fork, are also desirable; and the Commissioners recommend an appropriation of twelve hundred dollars to enable them to effect these improvements during the next two years.
The following is a summary of the above report :
1. The Commissioners propose to leave the improvement of the roads to the Big Trees and the Yosemite Valley to parties interested in increasing the amount of travel on either of the rival routes.
2. They desire to continue, on a moderate scale, the improvements in and about the valley itself, for the purpose of rendering interesting points more accessible, and to remove all charges on visitors for trails, bridges, ladders, ferries, etc. For this purpose they ask an appropriation of twelve hundred dollars, or six hundred dollars for each of the next two years.
3. They propose to increase the salary of the guardian, so that he may pay an assistant guardian, and in order that one or the other of them may remain permanently in the valley during the season of visi. tors. For this they ask authority and an appropriation of two thousand dollars, or one thousand dollars per annum.
4. They also ask for eight hundred dollars to pay the necessary expenses incurred by them in preparing a plat and survey of the claims in the valley, which has been found indispensable.
5. They intend to continue the legal investigation of the claims of the settlers in the valley until the highest Court of law has decided on their value.
6. They leave it to the Legislature to say whether any remuneration shall be made to these settlers, Messrs. Lamon & Hutchings, for damage done them by the action of Congress and the State in taking possession of the valley.
7. They ask that police authority be given to the guardian and subguardian of the Yosemite Valley, so that offenders may be arrested at once, without the necessity of taking out a warrant at a place sixty miles distant from the spot where the offence was committed.
8. They ask for one thousand dollars to pay the necessary travelling expenses of the Commissioners, and all other incidental expenses, during the next two years.
SUMMARY OF APPROPRIATIONS ASKED FOR.
For survey of claims and plot of valley......
$800 00 1,200 OC 2,000 00 1,000 00
The above is the smallest sum with wbich the business of the Commission can be carried on for the next two years.
The above is respectfully submitted, by order of the Board, together with the Treasurer's account of expenditures, as required by law.
J. D. WHITNEY,
Chairman of Executive Committee. SAN FRANCISCO, November 14th, 1867.
WILLIAM ASHBURNER, TREASURER,
IN ACCOUNT WITH
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS TO MANAGE YOSEMITE VALLEY
AND MARIPOSA BIG TREE GROVE.
1866. Nov. 23. To cash from State of California, being
one balf appropriation for eigbteenth
fiscal year........ 1867. April 17 To cash, being second half of appropria
$ 20 00 115 00
7 00 47 00 23 75 200 00
SAN FRANCISCO, October 24th, 1867.
I certify that the above expenditures were made by authority of the Commissioners to manage the Yosemite Valley and Big Tree Grove.
J. D. WHITNEY, Chairman of Executive Committee.