For nearly a month, the Ferguson fire raged and threatened. After consuming over 95,000 acres of pristine wilderness, it is nearly exhausted.
The re-opening of Yosemite National Park is a testament to the power of community. Whether they are aware or not, future visitors are indebted to the courage firefighters, first responders, Yosemite National Park staff, volunteers and Maricopa County community members who stood their ground.
The heroic defense included over 2,000 firefighters, 204 engines, 38 water tenders, 17 helicopters, 70 crews and 40 bulldozers. Less widely touted were that the New Christian Fellowship in Mariposa and Yosemite Valley Elementary School kindly opened their doors to displaced residents from Mariposa, El Portal, Wawona, and Groveland. Also, the Oakhurst public information staff hosted meetings and assisted in coordinating community affairs during the tense days of the crisis.
Today at 9:00 AM, Yosemite Valley, the jewel of our national park system, re-opened its monuments. We’d like to say “thank you” to all those who helped make this happen.
When we drive through the park gates today, it will be with grateful hearts and teary eyes. We are happy to be back.
Gary Lillian is the President and CEO of Extranomical Tours which has led more than 10,000 guided tours in Northern California in the last 10 years. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, holds a master’s degree from Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and is a recognized subject matter expert in marketing and customer experience engineering.