For a Three Part Photo Slide Show of the John Muir Highway Dedication Ceremony Click Here
On a bright sunlit Saturday morning, June 5, 2010 history was made on Highway J132 from Coulterville, California to Highway 120 in Tuolumne County as the road was designated the 'Historic John Muir Route.' This was the culmination of several years worth of effort by now named 'Chief Evangelist' of the John Muir Highway, Ken Pulvino of Greeley Hill, California. The designation of J132 from Coulterville to State Route 120 as the John Muir Highway is the inspiration of Ken Pulvino. Mr. Pulvino has been an active supporter of the highway designation to help the region with geo-tourism. The term refers to “best practices” tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place or the environment, or heritage and the well-being of its residents.The Coulterville Park was filled with residents, curious tourists, and many well wishers. The day began with a community breakfast, sponsored by the Coulterville Community Club, that featured more types of donuts than were dreamed possible along with fruit and drinks. The park had many vendors that had items ranging from candles to photographs, all available for purchase.At the Northern Mariposa County History Center Ken Pulvino and wife Terri donated $1,000 to be used to establish a permanent John Muir collection in the museum. Representing the museum were Dale Silverman, Bob Higgs and John Shimer, who accepted the check from the Pulvino's. At the Coulterville Park Jeffery Hentz (Executive Director of the Yosemite/Mariposa Tourism Bureau) was the announcer and told of upcoming events. At 11:00 A.M. Mr. Hentz introduced the VFW Color Guard and Sierra Burkhart sang the Star Spangled Banner. After the Pledge of Allegiance, Mariposa County resident Lee Stetson was introduced. Mr. Stetson, who in known for his wonderful portrayal of John Muir, gave a reading as John Muir.
Peter & Donna Thomas who have walked the John Muir Route were introduced and told of their journey, that they took a few years ago, of Muir's historic walk through the Central Valley up past Coulterville to Yosemite National Park. Scott Gediman (Yosemite National Park Public Affairs Officer) talked about John Muir, Yosemite National Park and the Coulterville area. Doug Miller (representing Assemblyman Tom Berryhill’s office) talked about how important tourism is to the economy of the area. Jeffrey Hentz presented a plaque to 'Chief Evangelist' for the John Muir Highway, Ken Pulvino. The final speaker of the day was Bill Hanna, who is the great grandson of John Muir. Mr. Hanna read passages from a book that John Muir wrote and he told stories and reminisced about his great grandfather, much to the enjoyment of the attentive audience.As the ceremony at the park came to a close everyone walked over by the intersection of Highway 49 and J132 (The Greeley Hill Road) as the ribbon cutting was getting ready to commence. Before the ribbon cutting Supervisor Lyle Turpin unveiled the first sign on J132 announcing the 'Historic John Muir Route'.Many comments were made by the attending dignitaries, including: Mariposa County Supervisor Lyle Turpin, Tuolumne County Supervisor John Gray, along with additional comments by MaryAnn Huff and Ann Schafer, who are Co-Chairs of the Historic John Muir Highway Committee. After the comments Bill Hanna enjoyed cutting the ribbon, that was stretched across the road, on this historic occasion.The ribbon cutting was followed by a parade up the road with the first car to be on the newly designated route. The car featured Bill Hanna, Lee Stetson (as John Muir) and Dave & Dale Silverman, driving 'Bubba'. The Don Pedro Rattlers 4-H, Tuolumne County - Country Mountain Riders Color Guard, Peter & Donna Thomas and many vintage autos followed behind the first car as it paraded it's way up the street.At Whistling Billy, the historic train at the intersection of Highways 49 and J312, the Coulterville Claim Jumpers performed a wild west shootout that had everyone, especially the tourists intrigued as the guns were fired and the 'Bad Guys' were shot.At 2:00 P.M., up at the Big Creek Meadow Ranch, a ribbon cutting ceremony and sign unveiling were held as many of the same folks that were in Coulterville arrived at the ranch. Dave 'Stilts', who stands around thirteen feet tall, led a parade down the road. The Tuolumne County - Country Mountain Riders Color Guard were on hand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Nanci Sikes (Executive Director of the Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau) was the announcer of the events on the Highway 120 side of the route. Supervisors John Gray and Lyle Turpin also made comments on the cooperation on the two counties working together to get this designation for the road. Again additional comments by MaryAnn Huff and Ann Schafer (Co-Chairs of the Historic John Muir Highway Committee) were well received by the audience. At the ribbon cutting, Ken Pulvino was handed the scissors to cut the ribbon on the Highway 120 side of the route. After the ribbon cutting Supervisor John Gray unveiled the final 'Historic John Muir Route' sign at the intersection of Highway 120 and J132. Wagon rides were available and vendors had items on display for purchase at the ranch.Later during the evening hours "The Wild Adventures of John Muir" a musical play was held at the Big Creek Meadow Ranch along with a gourmet catered picnic, while in Coulterville the Northern Mariposa County History Center hosted a Benefit Tri-Tip Dinner with VIP dinner guests Mark Twain and Bret Harte. They later performed a interpretive program featuring a "living history' portrayal of Samuel Clemons at the Odd Fellows Hall in Coulterville. With the many speakers and visiting history re-enactors the day was a huge success.For more information on the John Muir HighwayJohn Muir HighwayFacebook: John Muir HighwayAdditional info: ToMarket.netNorthern Mariposa County History CenterPeter & Donna Thomas: A Trans-California RambleSierra Nevada GeoTourism