History of Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls is home to North America ‘s highest waterfall, which cascades 2,425 feet over a massive granite cliff to the valley floor in Yosemite National Park . Since 1855 when the first tourists began to arrive in Yosemite Valley , the Falls have inspired awe, a steady stream of tourists, including today’s 3.5 million annual visitors, has led to overcrowding and deterioration of the natural habitat.
To increase visitor access and educational opportunities while protecting and preserving the natural habitat and cultural history of Yosemite Falls , the Yosemite Fund, a nonprofit foundation devoted to protecting, preserving and restoring Yosemite National Park , teamed up with the National Park Service and renowned landscape architect (the late) Lawrence Halprin to redesign the area. The goals of the project included improving vistas, creating visitor amenities that blend with the natural surroundings, and providing access for the disabled.
From the steep granite wall behind the Falls to the huge boulder at the base that contains acorn-grinding mortar holes left by Native American inhabitants, stone is a dominant presence at Yosemite Falls . Accordingly, stonework was an essential component of Halprin’s plan to restore the natural habitat and create amenities that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings.
Halprin hired QuarryHouse artisans to create natural stone constellations to direct visitors away from fragile forest and stream habitats , as well as six walking bridges, a new bus stop and restroom, an amphitheater and a network of benches and retaining walls . A major challenge of the project was emulating the stonework of Works Project Administration (WPA)-era masons, who constructed the existing amenities in the 1930s. The resulting stone structures look as though they have been there all along, yet will last several centuries instead of several decades.
David Elkington: Project Manager
Jason Joplin: Superintendent
Masons: Juan Santoyo, Javier Andrade, Dillon Westbrook, Javier Ochoa, ….
|The Office of Lawrence Halprin||Lawrence Halprin (In memoriam)|
|The Yosemite Conservancy||http://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/our-work/trail-repair-and-access|
Lawrence Halprin sketching at the Yosemite mock ups in the QuarryHouse stone yard.
QH crews hard at work building the new bus station, using reclaimed granite from highway slides, working it into massive stone columns.
We salvaged old cut granite curbstones and refashioned them into a bench
New stone bridge abutments will protect the bridges from floods in the future.
Building this bridge pier proved challenging even in the low water summer months.
Small details along the trail make the experience richer.
The completed bus station in the tradition of the great National Park structures from the WPA era.