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From: "Questal" ; Add to Address BookAdd to Address Book
To: Undisclosed-Recipient@,
Subject: FEDS take over sacred entrance to the INNER Earth, in MARIPOSA County. Petale (the Lizard-man) is watching events.
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 13:04:20 -0800
Now a Federal Historic Site
Bower Cave (added  June 16th, 2003 - Site - #01000719)
Also known as "oo'-tin"
Address Restricted, Greeley Hill
Owner: Federal
Lake McClure, located just west of Coulterville, is fed by the magnificent Merced River which begins its journey in nearby Yosemite National Park.   The north side also hosts great hang gliding, mountain biking on country back roads, and one of the county's most unique features, Bower Cave. While still in the development stages, this historic geologic wonder, sacred to the local Native American population, will soon be one of the county's most popular attractions.

Access the northern entrance to Yosemite National Park by Highway 132 to Highway 120 at Buck Meadows. Food, lodging, gas and groceries are available in Greeley Hill and Buck Meadows.
Highway 132 Realignment Project: This $4 million project is being funded by the County's allocation of State transportation funds. It will realign a dangerous portion of the highway in the Don Pedro community and increase the highway's capacity to carry residential and visitor traffic safely to destinations such as Lake McClure, Coulterville, Bower Cave and Yosemite.
Bower Cave : This is one of the world's wonders. a lovely bower in a mountain
side hewed out of solid rock by nature. Several large tree's are growing
up through the small opening at the top of the cave. A little lakelet,
very deep, is at the bottom. A platform has been built above the water
at the base of the trees. In early days it was used as a dancing
platform. The music in such a place must have been simply Paderwiskean
in its influences, and romantic beyond conception.


Bower Cave: South of Highway 120 at Bower Cave. A designated Historical Landmark.

Visitors permits are issued at the Groveland District office  

  * Please call the Groveland Ranger District at (209) 962-7825, or stop by our office on Highway 120.


On the ridge between Moore and Jordan Creeks (4-5 miles northwest of Bower Cave) There are many placers in regional Tertiary gravels which produced about 75,000 ounces of gold.

Cave Diving :  Jon Lindbergh's sang‑froid. overcame the dangers of Bower Cave, but two young naval reservists of Macon, Georgia, were not so lucky. Lieutenant Murray Anderson and electronics man Donald Gerue began free diving in 1954.


Researching the History and Mystery of Bower Cave, 1999
by Steve Marsh, FS Heritage Resource Specialist

Bower Cave is an open limestone grotto that figures in stories of the Southern Sierra Me-Wuk people. John Muir called it “a delightful marble palace, filled with sunshine,” when he passed by with a sheep herd in 1869. The cave hosted community dances in the late 1800s–early 1900s, and parties into the 1940s. People from the local Indian communities and long time residents of Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties consider Bower Cave fondly.

In 1990, the cave became part of the Stanislaus NF, and we began to understand its past, its place in family stories and memories, and its spiritual importance to native people. With the help of the local historical society and community members, we found people willing to share their memories, and we set up a weekend’s worth of interviews.   PIT volunteers conducted interviews to capture the memories of longtime locals, helped organize our volumes of Bower Cave material, and began building a comprehensive history of the cave. Our interviewees included the granddaughter of the turn-of-the-century homesteader of Bower Cave, a retired FS employee who worked in the area from the 1930s to the 1970s, a woman who was a tour guide at the cave as a teen in the 1930s, a woman who spent her youth near the cave in the 1940s, and a man who worked to make the cave a state park since the 1950s.

Between interviews, the volunteers worked like mad hunched over computers and tape recorders to transcribe the audiotapes. They also completed a bibliography of all our Bower Cave material, transcribed tapes of interviews done in the 1970s, organized information, and asked for more work. We had to kick them out the door at the end of the project, after adding to our library 2 videotapes, 20 audiotapes, 8 floppy disks full of material, and 33 printed pages of transcripts. Our enthusiastic volunteers also got more of the community involved. The owner of a local B&B housing two of our volunteers dug out his old reel-to-reel tape recorder to duplicate some tapes donated to us by an interviewee. We also got the name of a potential interviewee in southern California, whom two of our volunteers offered to interview after they returned home.

Now, the American Indian community is helping us record their history in relation to Bower Cave. We hope to be able to nominate the cave to the NRHP sometime later this year. The work done by our volunteers furthered that effort enormously.

We’d like to recognize our volunteers, Robert Williams, Suzanne Green, Lola Bridger, Linda Stout, Jim Stout, Barbara Roesch, Sue Brock, Pat Perry, and Richard Alvarez, for their fine work and an enjoyable weekend. Not only did they work hard, and accomplish everything we needed and more, but they came close to finishing up all the lasagna from our project dinner.

The project could not have been accomplished without the assistance of Gail Tyler and the Northern Mariposa County History Center, who suggested interviewees; other members of the community who offered suggestions and advice; Columbia College for their loan of tape re corders; Stanislaus NF staff who knowingly or unknowingly offered use of equipment, office space, or support; Craig and Elaine Maxwell from the Sugar Pine Ranch B&B, who gave up a good part of a day to duplicate tapes for us; Groveland District Ranger John Swanson, who gave every one a pep talk the first day; Forest Historian Pam Conners, who guided the planning and disappeared for half a day with two volunteers and one interviewee and apparently had a great time doing it; and the Stanislaus Heritage Resource Management team who dedicated time, people, and money to make it happen.

And of course, we’d like to thank again the people who kindly allowed us to plumb their memories: Carolyn Wenger Korn, Melba Kerns, Bill Shimer, Lavona and Der Greeley, John and Ellen Fiske, Riley Gilkey, and Patsy Hamm.


The Article "Bower Cave - Passport in Time Project" has been removed from the FED Site :


John Muir wrote : " Before noon we passed Bower Cave,

a delightful marble palace, not dark and dripping,
but filled with sunshine, which pours into it
through its wide-open mouth facing the south.
It has a fine, deep, clear little lake with mossy
banks embowered with broad-leaved maples,
all under ground, wholly unlike anything I
have seen in the cave line even in Kentucky,
where a large part of the State is honeycombed
with caves. This curious specimen of 
subterranean scenery is located on a belt of 
marble that is said to extend from the north end
of the Range to the extreme south. Many
other caves occur on the belt, but none like
this, as far as I have learned, combining as it
does sunny outdoor brightness and  
vegetation with the crystalline beauty of the underworld."


Ancient Myths :


The Mewuk tribes, those inhabiting the western slopes and foothills of the Sierra, call the ancient myths oo'-ten-ne or oot'-ne, meaning the history of the FIRST PEOPLE. (The Northern Mewuk say oo'-ten nas'-se-sa.) In this connection it may be significant that the name of Bower Cave, the home of Too'-le and He-le'-jah, two great chiefs of the FIRST PEOPLE, is "oo'-tin"  .


Mewuk tribes : For the Sierra Mewuk, white contact came with a fury in the wake of the California gold rush begun in 1848. Prior to contact, the Sierra Mewuk numbered about 8,000; by 1910 their numbers had dwindled to less than 700. The balance had succumbed to diseases and widespread killings with most of the survivors having fled into hiding.

Today, the Sierra Mewuk once again occupy a portion of their ancestral lands. Yet throughout this period on the reservation, the tribe has had to weather numerous struggles with the federal government over compensation for appropriated territories and for official recognition.   Many Sierra Mewuk people still live on their traditional lands, either on the Jackson, Shingle Springs, and Tuolumne rancherias (which have federal trust lands) and the Sheep Ranch, Buena Vista, and Chicken Ranch rancherias (which have little or no trust lands), or in surrounding areas. There are about 3,500 Miwok people living today.

Mewuk Indians to Build New Casino (CALIFORNIA) -- The Tuolumne Band of Mewuk Indians plans to expand its rancheria in the Sierra Nevada and build a new casino. 

The Mewuk Language :


Petale the Lizard-man
Ossale the Coyote-man and Petale the Lizard-man were First People.

  They tried to make Indian people, each like himself.  Ossale said he was going to make man just like himself.

Petale said that would be absurd; "How could man eat or take hold of anything if he had no fingers?"

So they quarrelled, and Ossale tried to kill Petale, but Petale slid into a crack in a rock where Ossale could not reach him.  Then they talked and argued for a long time.  After a while Petale came out ahead and when they made people he gave them five fingers.

The world was dark and everybody wanted light and fire.  By and by Petale the Lizard said, "I see smoke down in the valley; who will go and get it.  Loolooe the White-footed Mouse runs fast and plays the flute well; he had better go."


White Sagewort :
Mewuk children wore it around their neck to protect them from ghosts and sickness, and Mewuk tattoo artists made their ink from the soot of this herb.