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Yosemite Nature Notes: The Tuolumne River


The name can be a mouthful, turning your tongue in knots as you try to pronounce "Two-ahl'-oh-me." Native American in origin, some believe Tuolumne means "Many Stone Houses" or "Straight Up Steep," which, if you've ever traveled the Tioga Road through Yosemite National Park, certainly seems appropriate.

Today it's also the name a river that powers one of the national park's two major watersheds. In this episode of Yosemite Nature Notes the constantly filming and editing Steven Baumgardner takes a look at this river from "its glacial headwaters at 13,000 feet down through Tuolumne Meadows and into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. Scientists and rangers describe the power this river has on the landscape and on the people who visit it."


As beautiful as Yosemite is now, it is nothing compared to what it was when I first visited it as a child. I was captivated by the beauty of Tuolumne Meadows; indeed, by all I saw in Yosemite! Even if each visitor had someone tailing him to pick up garbage and keep him on the prescribed paths, just the vast numbers of visitors and the clearing necessary to accommodate them has degraded the park. I don't blame people for wanting to visit it; I just wish they could see it as it was. And I am aware that my first breath-taking view was already degraded from what it was before then.

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