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Sierra Club Environmental Education Program
LeConte Memorial Lodge 1904-2004

On the Eve of the LeConte Memorial Lodge Centennial

Introduction by Dr. Bonnie J. Gisel, Curator
July 2, 2004
LeConte Memorial Lodge
7:00 p.m.

On the eve of the centennial, good evening to you all and welcome to LeConte Memorial Lodge, the Sierra Club's home in Yosemite National Park. I would like to share a few thoughts with you before I introduce this evening's distinguished speakers.

Let me first thank everyone who has assisted in the preparation and planning of this glorious centennial event, especially George Pettit and Richard and Billie Jean Wiebe and the Wiebe Foundation - without their support and hard work we would not be here tonight.

I would also like to welcome Mr. And Mrs. John LeConte. John and Lorraine drove up from southern California to be with us this weekend. John is the great-grandson of Joseph LeConte and the grandson of Joseph Nisbet LeConte. We are pleased that he and Lorraine are able to be with us on this occasion.

Finally, permit me to dedicate the centennial of the LeConte Memorial Lodge to change - to change of heart. LeConte Memorial Lodge has enlisted one hundred years of service to Yosemite Valley and Yosemite National Park on behalf of nature and wilderness. In these one hundred years our relationship with the natural world has taken many steps forward, but some steps backwards - it is as if within each of us a battle is waged to recognize and sustain a right relationship with nature and wilderness - and we stumble in our ability to make the best decisions on behalf of the natural world - flora and fauna, mountains, rivers, and watersheds, deserts, fields, and forests.

The battle is not only within each of us individually - in terms of reaching a true recognition of sustainability - leave all better than you find it - there is also the battle between us, rather than united we often find ourselves divided, unable to make reasonable choices - the right thing to do.

Let us then — here and now-pledge this night and this weekend-upon the convictions, the faith of our ancestors - those who came before us to this mountain temple - let us pledge to move and keep moving toward a more sustainable world, to strengthen our relation with nature, and to slow down enough to really enjoy it, explore and protect it. May we find strength in each other and in and through nature, may we share our stories, our love, and teach the good lessons we find here.

One hundred years have passed since this door to LeConte Memorial Lodge was first open - let us continue to open this door and open the gift of nature and wilderness we have received. Dr. Joseph LeConte lifted his heart in humble worship to Nature and in the midst of the overwhelming grandeur of Nature, wanted never to forget the gift of wilderness - may we saunter quietly and humbling in his footsteps.

After the foregoing introduction, Tom Arfsten, Frank Helling and Steve Pauly presented:
Galen Clark, John Muir and Joseph LeConte in Yosemite

Learn more about the LeConte Lodge Centennial.

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Information and Donations

For more information, during the summer contact Sierra Club LeConte Memorial Lodge Curator, P.O. Box 755, Yosemite, CA 95389, 1-209-372-4542; e-mail:

During the winter, contact LeConte Lodge Committee Chair, Harold Wood, P.O. Box 3543, Visalia, CA 93278; phone: (559) 697-3525; e-mail:

Tax deductible donations to support the new exhibits and renovation efforts of the LeConte Memorial can be made to "Sierra Club Foundation," marked for the "LeConte Lodge Fund."

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