Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia) recently introduced ACR 142, which would designate a specific portion of State Highway 198 from Three Rivers to Sequoia National Park in Tulare County as the Colonel Charles Young Memorial Highway.
Previously, the California state assembly designated as the Buffalo Soldiers Memorial Highway the portion of California State Highway Route 41 from post mile 1.841 at the Mariposa-Madera County line to post mile 4.918 to Yosemite National Park. The act was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Aug. 26, 2016. Two road signs were installed last month.
“It’s an honor to pay tribute to the man who paved the way for the expansion and enjoyment of the Sequoia National Park,” Mathis said. “Colonel Charles Young’s legacy had a profound impact on California, especially within its park systems. It’s only proper that he should be honored and remembered as Californians visit the park he helped to protect and make better during his lifetime.”
As a soldier, diplomat, and the first African-American national park superintendent, Charles Young overcame stifling inequality to become a leading figure in the years after the Civil War. Young and his troops arrived in Sequoia National Park in the summer of 1903 and built roads and trails that other troops were unable to do in the years before them. In one summer, Young was able to accomplish more than the previous three officers assigned to the park. In his final report on the Sequoia Park to the Secretary of the Interior, Young recommended the acquisition of privately held lands there to secure more park area for future generations.
The resolution for the Young Memorial Highway already has earned widespread support from across the country, including the descendants of Colonel Young, who fully support the effort and commend its introduction.
“We have a longstanding personal interest in the furtherance and promotion of the legacy of Colonel Charles Young and his groundbreaking vision as a conservationist,” Renotta and Lawrence Young wrote. “Our family is keenly aware of his special love for Sequoia National Park and Yosemite and we believe strongly that his vision is still relevant and compelling today.”