“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Image: El Capitan, Yosemite National Park
Some gifts are best presented as is. With a verbally-challenged President like Donald Trump, those gifts can be unexpected. At least that’s what the National Museum of American Jewish History has realized, following yet another gaff by our faux Commander-in-Chief. In a speech about the beauty of America’s national parks, Trump had trouble pronouncing the Yosemite in Yosemite National Park; a 1200 sqm. (310,798 h) gem in California, perhaps most famous for its astounding giant sequoia trees.
In response, the NMAJ has produced a tee shirt to honor the moment and has already sold 1,500. Amidst the humor, there is irony. Untold numbers of die-hard Trump supporters with White supremacist leanings will undoubtedly be horrified to learn their man has created profits for a Jewish institution.
Yosemite National Park is known primarily for its stunning vistas, but it’s also known for 8 manmade bridges; most of which span the Merced River. The oldest is Yosemite Creek Bridge, which was built in 1922, and sits below Yosemite Falls. All 8 of them were placed on National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1977, but that apparently hasn’t guaranteed them full protection. Three of them, in particular, face demolition: the Stoneman, the Sugar Pine and the Ahwahnee. Environmentalists want them removed to help the flow of the Merced, while historians claim the bridges are examples of early rustic architecture and therefore, are too culturally important to destroy.
Despite the park’s 1,200 square miles of wilderness, 95% of the 4 million annual visitors stay in the one-by-eight-mile valley, where the Half Dome and El Capitan walls of granite, stands of pines and stair-step waterfalls are the main attractions. Now these 3 bridges have become a focal point. What happens to them is anyone’s guess, but the matter is sure to be contentious.
“The bridges have become a proxy war for those who want to keep the same level of visitor amenities and those who want to see reduced infrastructure,” says Anthony Veerkamp of the NTHP. “They are treating them more as infrastructure rather than historic resources that need to be planned for their own remarkable value.”