Time to take a spin around the web to learn more about the beautiful central Sierra Nevada. You hear it called many things, this range of mountains. From "Sierra Nevadas" (wrong) to "Sierra Nevada Mountains" (wrong: that would mean "snowy mountains mountains")
Evidently, the Sierra Nevada was mapped by Padre Pedro Font in 1776. As with many words and phrases, there can be a sort of "insinuated" meaning. Sierra, in the olden days, actually meant more of a "jagged mountain range" and since Nevada means "snow-covered", our beloved mountains are correctly, "the jagged, snowy mountains" which pretty well sums it up.
Just how did the Sierra Nevada become California's mountain range? Usually when mountain ranges divide two states or countries, the dividing line is at the crest. But that would have meant California giving up Lake Tahoe. Now we couldn't have that, could we?
"Madera" is the Spanish word for "lumber", the first industry in the county. The mountain area is rich in the history of the 1859 California Gold Rush towns, with such names as Coarsegold, Finegold, Grub Gulch, Ahwahnee and Nipinnawassee. In 1856, Madera became a California county. The discovery of gold brought the first big wave of immigrants, most of them placer miners who worked along the streams that were rich in precious metal, and soon a new mining era came with the development of hard-rock ledge mining for gold, silver and copper. In 1919, a group known as the Gold Chain Council was formed to get what was then a dirt road of various qualities, conditions and dimensions made into a State highway. It obviously was successful, and continues to this day as the oldest highway association in California. The State Legislature officially named Highway 49 the "Mother Lode Highway" in 1921. The California Journal credits what is now Madera County with the production of $1,350,000 in gold between 1880 and 1892. Of this amount, $958,000 was produced by three Grub Gulch mines: The Gambetta, Josephine and Enterprise. This leaves less than $400,000 for all the other mines in the area. Recent efforts to produce gold have mostly been limited to small suction dredges. There are two in nearby streams, both inactive. Today's better roads and highways have brought tourists by the millions into California's Sierra Nevada making it a valued part of the economy in the central Sierra region.
Eastern Madera County is in the Sierra National Forest region, the western slope of the central Sierra Nevada, is known for its spectacular mountain scenery and abundant natural resources. The Sierra National Forest encompasses more than 1.3 million acres between 900 and 13,986 feet in elevation. The terrain includes rolling, oak-covered foothills, heavily forested middle elevation slopes and the starkly beautiful alpine landscape of the High Sierra.
Naming the Sierra National Forest
This was the second National Forest created in California and the largest at the time. It covered over six million acres of the Sierra Nevada and was about four times the average area of typical California National Forests. Originally it embraced parts of eight counties from Tuolumne on the north to Kern on the south and Mono and Inyo on the east. Initially its name was descriptive, but later when the Sierra was divided into different units this was no longer the case. Sierra Nevada means "snowy range of mountains" or, literally "snowy saw teeth". In 1777 Pedro Font drew a map which named the Sierra Nevadas for the first time.
President Harrison proclaimed the Sierra Forest Reserve on February 14, 1893. Four years later the south half became a separate unit and was named Sierra South during the "forest reserves" era. This designation was dropped after the administrative transition to the National Forests.
Yosemite National Park embraces a spectacular tract of mountain-and-valley scenery in the Sierra Nevada, which was set aside as a national park in 1890. The park harbors a grand collection of waterfalls, meadows, and forests that include groves of giant sequoias, the world's largest living things.
Highlights of the park include Yosemite Valley and its high cliffs and waterfalls; Wawona's history center and historic hotel; the Mariposa Grove, which contains hundreds of ancient Giant Sequoias; Glacier Point's (summer-fall) spectacular view of Yosemite Valley and the high country; Tuolumne Meadows (summer-fall), a large subalpine meadow surrounded by mountain peaks; and Hetch Hetchy, a reservoir in a valley considered a twin of Yosemite Valley.
The incomparable Sierra Nevada is the backbone of this region. Natural attractions stagger the imagination - from emerald-hued Bass Lake, to sparkling high country lakes, streams and towering mountains. With our most treasured national park, Yosemite, we offer the prime example of American wilderness, yet at the same time all the services are here in our towns for everything you need from entertainment to sports, and equipment to groceries. Come visit the Central Sierra and get back to nature!
The links on this page are general links for tourism information, and some of the most-often-requested websites in the mountain area.
Feature films are regularly using our locations. You have seen Bass Lake in The Great Outdoors (1988), Leave Her to Heaven (1945), Mouse Hunt (1997), Mysterious Pilot, The (1937). You may have seen Fish Camp featured in Great American Train Rides 2 (1994), and of course Yosemite National Park has been featured in some 45 or more films, including Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), The Shining (1980), all the way back to The Dragon Painter, filmed in 1919!
When great films are made in the Sierra mountain area, you can bet the Madera Film Commission played a role in getting the crews here, making them comfortable and providing necessary services.
There are wonderful opportunities throughout the Yosemite Sierra Region, Eastern Madera County foothills and all of Madera County. Land, real estate, homes, and business opportunities await you by contacting our Partners!
Phone: (559) 642-3600
PO Box 470
Bass Lake, CA 93604
Phone: (559) 642-2288
40047 HIghway 41
Oakhurst, CA 93644
Phone: (559) 760-4469
54299 North Shore Rd 432
Bass Lake, CA 93604
Phone: (559) 642-2288
Toll-Free: (866) 914-3888
P.O. Box 308
Oakhurst, CA 93644
Phone: (559) 676-2424
40637 Highway 41, Oakhurst, CA 93644 • Phone: 559-683-4636 • Fax: 559-683-5697 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau © 2015
at the Fossil • 19450 Avenue 21-1/2 Chowchilla 93610 • (Exit 164, off Highway 99)Discovery Center
"Visit 3 of California's National Parks In as little as 3 days!"
Yosemite * Sequoia
Proud member of