ROADS/TRAILS of Mariposa

Fresno Daily Republican, December, 8  1891
Mr. Asbrook Has Something to Say on the Subject
At this time there is a strong interest felt in this community in the construction of a road between this place and the town of Mariposa.  To further the enterprise as much as possible, the undersigned has consented to act as viewer, and as the citizens are divided in opinion as to which of two proposed routes the available county funds ought to be expended, both routes were traveled by my associate, Mr. Foster, and myself.  Notes were carefully taken, and upon comparison we differed in conclusions  My co-laborer thinks the expenditures ought to be put upon the eastern or Martin route, while I think it ought to be put upon the western or Oakdale route; hence these lines to explain some things that could not well be embodied in a report to the supervisors of Fresno county.
The difference in cost of constructing the one road and bridge is slight, as is also the difference in the length of the  proposed routes so that benefits ought to control.
Mr. Foster says that if the eastern road is built it will open up a new and valuable country to settlement and development, all of which is and will be tributary to Raymond.  In also affords a way for the fruit men to reach the railroad, and be the means of diverting more travel to this county than the other route. That Mariposa will make connections of the road to her county seat, however much she (unreadable) disinclined so to do now.  I reply, your population on the eastern line is mostly prospective.  The county has to be made populous while the western route is already peopled.  We ought to make roads to meet present needs more than for prospective ones.
The travel that would come to this county by the eastern route would certainly be caught by the western one.  If this county should make a road over the Martin way I have grave doubts about the willingness or ability of Mariposa to make the other end.  In that event we would be at the end of traveling ground at the county line, with a barrier between us and the town of Mariposa.
As the Mariposa people are favorable to the western route, it is our interest not to antagonize that feeling when we even gain travel by being fraternal-
Mr. F. Ashbrook, Raymond  transcribed by c feroben

From the Mariposa Gazette, 1894 , no specific date.
"A walk down Bullion Street last Wednesday  was enough to impress upon even the most careless observer the fact that work on our streets is absolutely necessary.  Fromm Eight to Ninth Streets, or to make it intelligible, from Judge Jones' residence to Farnsworth's corner, the sidewalk was covered to a depth of about four inches, with a deposite of sand of the constistency of thin mush, and very wet mush at that.  It would have been much deeper had not bedrock cropped up so close to the surface that the sand could not go further down.  A  dozen wagon loads of gravel from the creek, put on that part of the street, would dispose of the mud question and isure a clean, dry sidealk..Pride in our town should be one stong incentive to keep our streets neat and fit to travel over, and the comfort of being able to walk downtown without having one's clothing thoroughly saturated with slime  should be another motive.  If someone who has the right to manage the work will please take hint, and, before the big Christmas rains come, have a thick coating of gravel laid over the sidewalk, his name shall ever be called blessed."
"The Mariposa Post Office, always one of the most attractive places in town is undergoing a thorough renovating and house-cleaning.  A skylight has been let into the roof, making the rooms light even on the darkest days; the walls and ceilings have been freshly calsomined, and the woodwork newly painted. As for the other adjuncts of the office, well, they are perfect."

San Francisco Call, Volume 77, Number 150, 9 May 1895

If Mariposa County would expend enough money to put her roads in good condition, bridge the streams and make whatever improvements the public interests demand the value of proverty would be increased and new enterprises would be created, so that the rate of taxation would be less than it has been in years. It is a mistaken policy to retard development in order to keep down expenses. Prosperity is not won that way.

Merced Express, January 25, 1913
Suggest Cathey Valley Route.

Charles I. Mosteller and J. F. Lambert, members of a committee appointed by the Planada Chamber of Commerce to advocate the selection of the Cathey Valley route for the branch of the State Highway from Merced to Mariposa, were in town Tuesday. They point out that the Cathey Valley route is much shorter and far better than the proposed route by way of Merced Falls and Hornitos and will be of greater benefit to Merced and Mariposa. It has been suggested that the Chambers of Commerce of Merced, Planada and Mariposa hold a joint meeting to consider the matter and recommend a route to the Highway Commission
. submitted by Tom Hilk

Fresno Bee, Monday October 13, 1930
MARIPOSA (Mariposa Co) Oct 13- Supervisor C I Mentzer and a crew of men, recently completed the new grade down Shingle Hill between the Dudley ranch and Bower Cave.
This grade was started two or three years ago but was not completed on account of insufficient funds.
This year Mentzer had funds set aside in the budget for this road and with the financial support of the Stanislaus National Forest officials, completed a 6 1/2 per cent grade of 1 1/2 miles to take the place of the dangerous road that has not been in use since the fifities and which, in some places, reached as high as a 20 per cent grade.

Fresno Bee, October 22, 1930
MERCED (Merced CO) Oct 22- Highway engineers , roadside resort owners, Chamber of Commerce representatives and officals of Merced and Mariposa Counties were present at a hearing here yesterday afternoon on the proposed relocation of fourteen miles of the Merced-Yosemte All-Year Highway.
M. B. Harris of Fresno, chairman, and George Mansfield, secretary of the California State Highway Commission, announced after the meting that poins discussed at the hearing would be considered an dfinaly highway plans announced later.
Edward Wallace, division highway engineer, explained the new routing between Orange Hill school house in the lower Cathey Valley and Mariposa.
Instead of the present route to the right of guadalupe Mountain, passing through Bridgeport at Agua Fria Creek, the road would run northward toward Mt. Bullion, swing to the right through the old locations of Agua Fria and Carson and follow through Arkansas Flat and over Carson pass in to Mariposa.
THe new route would be 1.9 (hard to read) mles shorter than the present road and would eliminate much curvature and grade. It would touch an elevation of 2,400 feet, about 500 feet higher than the present road.
The improvement wouldl cost $700,000, which , according to Wallace, would be $10,000 less than the cost of improving the present road. Several resort owners along the present higheay protested against the proposed relocation. c feroben

Fresno Bee Republican, Sunday March 12, 1933
Two Admit Theft of Gasoline, Pay $500 Fine Each-
Mariposa (Mariposa Co.) March 31- Chester C Verley of Mt. Bullion and Allen Kneckteh of Bear Creek pleaded quietly before Justice Jay T Norman of Cathey Valley to stealing fifty gallons of gasoline from Charles Harlowe, contractor on the Carson Cutoff between Cathey Valley and Mariposa. They paid fines of $500 each.

Fresno Bee , November 25, 1934
Mariposa (Mariposa CO) Nove 24- A petition addressed to the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors is being circulated seeking the construction of a road from Mariposa to the Colorado-Sherlock mining district, fifteen miles north-east of here, reducing the traveling distance approximately four miles and traveling time by more than a half-hours.
C. A. APPERSON, who is circulating the petition, says the new road would be two miles in length.   He declared it is understood the United States Postoffice Deparment would establish a postal route from Mariposa through the Colorado-Sherlock district if the road should be built.  The presend roads are impassable during the winter season.

Fresno Bee, August 25, 1946
Mariposa (Mariposa Co) Aug. 24- Cattlemen and lumbermen of the Miami district in Mariposa COunty today are up in arms because a culvert assertedly has been removed from the Miami Creek crossing on the old stage road to Wawona via Miami.  They say this deprives them of their regular means of access to the location of their habitations and activities in the mountains.
The dispute started last Spring when the Oakland branch of the Girl Scouts of  America purchased the Miami Lodge.  In June representatives of the organization started a movement to have the road, a county thoroughfare used by the cattlemen and lumbermen for more than 70 years., closed to insure privacy for the projected establishment.
A hearing was held here before the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors on July 5th, with 40 interested persons registering a vigorous protest. Only Supervisor Sam Milton and a representative of the Girl Scouts favored the closing.
The supervisors denied the petition to close the road and the Girl Scout representative at that time accepted the decision declaring, "we did not know the situation."
Early this month, A C Shaw. Jr., of Raymond and Merced, while riding line on the Miami Range, said he noticed another road was being built paralleling the old state road. He declared today:
"I went at once to the Scouts' supervisor in charge at Miami Creek.  She insisted the Girl Scouts were not going to tolerate a public road that ran through the end of their property where it was their intention at some future date to build their camp and cabins.  She declared the new road was being built with the county equipment."
Shaw said the next day Charles Brous of Fresno and Charles Higgins of Merced and Raymond, the former representing the SUmmer residents and the latter, the agricultural and lumber interests of the area, called on Milton at his home.  Shaw asserted Milton at first refused to talk to them, declaring it was Sunday and his day off.
Higgins, however, insisted, and asked:
"What kind of road are you building on Miami Creek?  What is it and what do you intend to do with it?"
"Well," Milton is said to have replied, "if you insist on knowing, the Girl Scouts have paid $5,000 cash ahead of time to build that road.  You are going to use it instead of the old road and like it."
"I may have to use it," rejoined Brous, "certainly I will have to if you take the culvert out of Miami Creek; but I won't like it, not unless it is very different from the way it is now.  I presume this new one is a Mariposa County road with a Mariposa County right of way?"
"Mariposa County has no right of way on this one," Milton is quoted as replying.  "It is the Girl Scouts' road.  They are paying for it."
"If this road isn't a county road, how is it going to be kept up,? countered Borous.  "What is going to happen when the Orr and Wolf Lumber Company of Sanger build their sawmill and start working on Miami Creek next Spring?" Milton is said to have replied:
"I am not keeping up any road for any lumber company."
Today, the culvert still is out and the ranchers, Summer campers and lumbermen use the new private road, which they declare is much more difficult to negotiate, even in good weather. Their leaders are debating what legal action they can take, especially in view of the fact Mariposa County is still minus the services of a district attorney.  Higgins summed up the situation this way:
"We must first clear up some of the legal aspects of the case. We shall insist that the Girl Scouts give Mariposa County a legal right of way.  We also want to determine under what particular circumstances a private party can transfer public property in public use to private property and, in so doing, make the public property useless, which is exactly what was done when the Miami Creek culvert was  removed."
Milton could not be reached for comment.
When the All Year Highway and the Wawona Road from Fresno to Yosemite  were opened.  Miami Lodge was closed and the stages took the more modern routes. The old road was no longer the state highway, but it was still the main artery of traffic for the cattlemen, lumbermen, Summer residents, campers, hunters and trappers in that area.
It is considered the best road connecting Mariposa and Raymond and the areas in between them with the new Wawona road to Yosemite.
c feroben

The Modesto Bee, Wed, Aug 5, 1959
Guest at the recent surprise birthday party given for 76 year old Mrs. Clara Greeley of Bower Cave in Greeley Community Hall donated dollars toward the new Highway 132 project as their gifts to the honoree.
The highway is of particular significance to Mrs. Greeley, as it passes along property once owned by her parents, the late Mr., and Mrs. Frederick Wenger.  The original road was the only route for many years into Yosemite Valley by way of Coulterville and was  known as the Coulterville-Yosemite  Turnpike. It was a toll road with the toll gate located on the old Frederick Wenger Ranch, now the John McCauley Ranch.  McCauley is a nephew of the Wengers.
Three hundred fifty dollars were donated by the guests in Mrs. Greeley's name.
Mrs. Irene Lucas of South Gate gave the party for her aunt. Assisting her were Mmes. Earl Matson and Lloyd Isaacs, the honoree;s nieces frm Oakland; Mrs. Greeley's sisters, Mmes, Emma Trubull of Vallejo; Julia Kinney and Estel Paty of Sonora and a sister in law, Mrs. Ben Wenger of Jamestown.
A great niece, Shirly Matson of Lafayette baked and  decorated a cake fashioned in the form of a book to comvey birthday greets to Mrs. Greeley.
Pink and white color themed the party. A special cake completed with 76 candles and a large punch bowl centered the table which was covered with an imported Chinese linen cloth belonging to Mrs. Matson.
Mrs. Greeley was ushered into the hall by her brother and sister in law, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Wenger of Jamestown, and presented with an orchid. Close to 70 guests attended.

McClatchy Newspaper Services
WASHINGTON DC- Congressman Harold T (Bizz) Johnson of the second, Lode and Valley, district today announced the award of a contract by the federal government for the granding of resurfacing of 3.8 miles of big Oak Flat Road in Mariposa County
A. J. Biani of Santa Maria, Calif., was announced as low bidder and won the contract on his $369, 066.50 offer.
The section of Hishway 120 to be improved is between Crane Flat and Hazel Green Creek, all in Yosemite National Park.
This is another phase of the Mission 66 program which is designed to provide a reconstructed Big Oak Flat-Ioga Road frm the western Yosemite boundary to cross the summit into Inyo County by 1966.
Modesto Bee and News-Herald, Sunday Dec 4, 1966
A Yosemite National Park official thinks the old Coulterville Toll Road into Yosemite might become a one-way  motor nature trail offering an "intimate" view of nature.
David Del Condon, assistant superintendent, made the suggestion Friday at the 11th annual meeting of the Northern California-Yosemite Highway Association in Modesto.
Condon said one-way  nature trails have been successful in the Great Smoky National Park, where systems of old logging, railroad grades and roads have been converted.
He said the road-trails are paved but kept to one lane in width.  Speeds are set at 10 miles per hour and motorists are given a printed guide to find their way.

The forest comes right up to the side of your car," Condon said. "Here is an opportunity for motorists to have an intimate contact with nature."
condon said the Old Coulterville Toll Road might be developed as such a  road outside the national park by the Highway 132 Association/
The association has worked 10 years and raised $50,000 to promote Highway 132 and the old toll road as an entrance to Yosemite.
The road extends beyond Coulterville, where 132 ends, through Greeley Hill and past Bower Cave, an possible future state park, into Yosemite.
Condon said the original toll road is still open into the park through Merced Grove, Big Meadow, Forest and to Elephant Rock on the Yosemite valley floor.  However, the Highway 132 Association road is closed just north of Merced Grove where it leaves the old toll road to short-cut into Yosemite.
What Condon suggested would be a one-way park exit from Elephant Rock to Merced Grove, joining the Highway 132 road at that point.
He said the Old Tuolumne Grove road out of the park at Crane Flat is one a one-way motor nature trail which loops back on the new Highway 120 park entrance.
District Ranger John Rusk of the Stanislaus National Forest , said timber sales in the national forest will hamper any development of the Old Coulterville Toll Road south of Merced Grove.
Logging trails will weave over and across the old toll road in the near future, making it difficult to follow, he said.
The logging will take place at Crocker Ridge, Big grizzly Flat, Ned Gulch, Moss Canyon and Little Nellie Falls, Rusk said.
Condon said the park as already developed portions of the old toll road west of Elephant Rock, but would not develop any of the road outside park boundaries.
He reiterated the statement of Park Superintendent John Davis to the association that the park will not provide a new entrance for the old toll road.
Highway association members have not promoted the toll road sough of Merced Grove, which adds about 20 extra miles to the trip into the park and is extremely rugged terrain.  As it stands now, however, their road is blocked by a gate just north of Merced Grove , forcing them to backtrack or to take the extra 20 miles.
Condon and Ruck suggested the association promote a connection between the old roll road and Highway 120 between Bower Cave and Buck Meadow. 
This is a federal aid secondary road and is well maintained, Rusk said.  If the route were chosen it would by-pass most of the roadwork the association has already done and eliminate much of the most scenic portions of the old toll road.
Condon said construction of a nature trail is a minimal cost, involving drainage, paving and some bridges but little straightening or detouring.  Numerous turnouts must be provided for viewing and resting, and the motor trail must have access for emergency assistance vehicles, he said.
The entire one-way road suggestion is made difficult because of differing regulations in the national park and the Stanislaus Nation Forest.
In other action Supervisor Harry Hurlbert, Mariposa County board chairman, said the drive is continuing to persuade the state to acquire Bower Cave on the old Coulterville Toll Road and develop it as a park.
He reported the State Park Commission passed over it recently because of limited funds and more pressing projects elsewhere but said state officials never the less remain enthusiastic about its potential.
He disclosed State Sen Stephen P Teale, D 3rd District , will be asked to push the project.

Modesto Bee, July 30, 1970
Mariposa- A winding country road believed to have been used at one time as a stage route to Yosemite National Park has been closed, chained and padlocked at the park boundary , launching bitter protests from Mariposa County residents.
The old road, some of it paved and some graveled, meanders from  Highway 49 south of Mariposa across the Chowchilla Mountains and into Yosemite at wawona, just north of the park ranger station where visitors are supposed to pay fees.
But because it bypasses the entrance station, the park has closed the road at the park boundary, causing Mariposans who have depended on the road to reach Wawona and Fish Camp to take Highway 41, adding about one-third more distance to the trip.
The Mariposa County Board of Supervisors this week voiced its displeasure by instructing District Atty. Richard Gimblin to write a letter to Yosemite officials demanding that the Wawona road be reopened.
Supervisors invited Russel Olson, acting Yosemite superintendent to attend this week's meeting and explain the closure.  However, he sent word he was too busy until perhaps next Monday.
In the meantime, Olson said he will do some research on the status of the road and contact his superior, Lawrence Hadley, former Yosemite superintendent who has been transferred to Washington, D. C.
Mariposa supervisors contend the road was closed illegally, that the county, which owns the road, has never given its permission to close the road and that, furthermore, Yosemite did not advise Mariposa of its action.
One of the immediate reactions to the closure of the road was a petition campaign, which so far has the signatures of more than 200 persons.
Back Drive
Lee Berlin, one of the campaign leaders who lives in the Chowchilla Mountain area told the supervisors all the county's organizations are backing the move to reopen the road.
Also closed was Big Creek campground, located on the Wawona Road within the park boundary.  Park officials said the camp is unimproved and that if it is reopened camp fees would have to be charged, as is the rule in other campgrounds in Yosemite.
County Supervisor Tom Richardson said he recalled the road was used much of the time in the 1920's.  Yosemite Park & Curry buses once used it and before that it was possibly used by stage coaches.
It is 37 miles from Mariposa to Wawona over the route. Those who now have to go to Wawona via Highway 41 must travel about one-third more in distance.
In Yosemite, park officials said the road was closed at the park boundary the weekend of July 4 to make sure that motorists no longer would be able ot enter the park free.  Because the road bypasses the entrance station, no fees have been collected in the past f rom users of  that road.
Hippie Trouble
The park closed the road on the weekend it had hippie trouble, when 500 or so "hippie types" there rocks and bottles at rangers and fought law officer, Park officials, said that since that time park management has moved to close the gates to "freeloaders."
In other action at the board meeting this week, the supervisors were requested by Superior Court Judge Dean Lauritzen to hire a full-time chief probation officer and  full-time deputy.
In other matters , James Owings and Gimblin were named to succeed Lauritzen and Lowell Bondshu on the Comprehensive Health Planning Council.  The board named Lauritzen and Cleo Adelsbach to succeed Judge Thomas Coakley and Richard Feister on the Mental Health Advisory Board.   cferoben

Modesto Bee and News-Herald, Thrusday, Dec 17, 1970
Mariposa- a search of half century old records has given Mariposa County supervisors ammunition with which to renew their fight with Yosemite Nationa Park officals over their closure four months ago on the Old Wawona Road accessto the park.
When park officals ordered a chain placed across the unmaned Wawona entrance, they pointed out the closure was necessary to control entry of undesirable elemnts into the park, and they said the closure was perfectly within their power.
Hower, Mariposa supervisors contended the park officials had no such right. And now the supervisors feel they have the facts to back up their contention.
County records show that Wawona Road into Yosemite was deeded to the county in November 1917 by the Yosemite Stage and Turnpike Co, the former owner, say the supervisors.- transcribed by cferoben

by Thorne Gray- Modesto Bee and News Herald, July 25, 1972
An all but impassable segment of the old coulterville stagecoach toll road to Yosemite National Park will be improved this year by the Stanislaus National Forest.
It will take a brave motorist to dare the trip, willing to breathe thick clouds of dust and dodge heavily laden logging trucks.
The reward would be free admission to the park near Big Meadow and Foresta, where the future park headquarters and visitor facilities are planned for the day when automobiles are totally banned from Yosemite Valley.
Those who brave the old road may walk into the seldom visited Merced Grove of giant sequoias.  A portion of the Coulterville Road winding through the grove will be converted into a trail
William Baker, Stanislaus National Forest timber manager, explained the road improvement is related to the sale last month of 19.5 million board feet of timber to the Yuba River Lumber Co of Grass Valley.  The trees had an estimated value of $870,0 00 but sold in bidding for $2,015,000, Baker said.
The sale involves 2,700 acres of the forest near the western border of the national park, north of El Portal and south of the Highway 120 park entrance at Hodgdon Ranch.  Within the area, Baker said 779 acres will be selectively logged to leave the young growth and 60 acres will be clear cut. The clear cutting serves a number of purposes, such as the creation of fire breaks and road links.
The Yuba Co. will construct a portion of the road improvements near Little Nellie Falls on Little Crane Creek. Baker said the falls is being carefully skirted to preserve its "oasis"-like beauty.
Most of the road improvement, 5.3 miles, will be completed under a separate contract for $768, 030 awarded to the W Saxon Baker Co. of Redding. The road is to be one lane wide with a 15-mile-per-hour speed limit.
Baker, who is not related to the Baker Co., said there are 15 places where the original toll road was supported by stone revetments.  At least 10 of the stone walls will be preserved although in places the improved road will pass just below them.
Just 98 years ago, on June 17, Dr. John McLean pushed the Coulterville toll road through to Big Meadow, the first formal road in Yosemite Valley.  A month later the Big Oak Flat Road to Crane Flat and the valley, today's northern entrance, was completed.
McLean's Coulterville and Yosemite Turnpike Road Co. spent $71,000 building the twisting route.  He originally intended to use the Crane Flat route but detoured through the Merced Grove of big trees when he discovered them  Over the years, the Big Oak Flat Road became more used and eventually became State highway 120.
State Highway 132 linked Modesto to Coulterville, as it does today, but there the state route ends.  In Modesto and Mariposa COunty, A Northern California  Yosemite Highway Association was organized and raised $50,000 to improve the toll road to the park.
The hope was enough traffic could be lured onto the old road to justify its paving, and the eventual extension of Highway 132 to the park border. For years there was an entrance to the park near Crane Flat, but in 1966 the association member, on their last annual outing up the road, found their way blocked by a gate.
Had they continued down the actual historic Coulterville Road that day, they still would have reached the park at Big Meadow.  But they might have broken axles or had accidents on the steep, cliff clinging toll road.  Instead , they doubled back to Highway 120, express their disappointment to the park authorities, and gave up their cause.  Modesto is on no highway to Yosemite.

Mariposa County Board of Supervisors Statement Regarding Hazel Green Litigation- March 18, 2008

MARIPOSA COUNTY RESOLUTION NO. 07-414 Declaruing the County of Mariposa's Interst in The Coulterville Road August 21, 2007