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Scree of the Peak Climbing Section of the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club, for April 1995 (Vol. 28, No. 4), carries an early proposal by Laura Sefchik for naming Sharsmith Peak: "Like Muir and Adams, Carl will have a peak named for him soon. Hopeful1y it will be the Tuolumne Meadow’s region peak, Peak 12,002, his “sundial.” This article was also published in Park Science of the National Park Service, Winter 1995, and in Fremontia, vol. 23, no. 2 of the California Native Plant Society.

Laura Sefchik renewed her support October 26, 2007: "I support your desire to see Sharsmith Peak" (letter on file).

Here is the full article from 1995:

Carl Sharsmith, 1903-1994

CARL W. SHARSMITH, Yosemite’s famous ranger naturalist, died October 14, 1994, at the age of 91. As the angel chorus sang to welcome Carl into paradise on that morning, the heavens were sending snow down upon his beloved Tuolumne Meadows, furnishing a blanket for his alpine plants. The flowers rest early this year.

Carl may be remembered as the oldest and longest serving National Park Ranger, as an expert alpine botanist, as professor of botany at San Jose State University, as discoverer of previously unclassified wildflowers and for establishing the herbarium at SJSU, which now bears his name.

But he will be best remembered as Tuolumne Meadows’ best-loved naturalist. Carl was an inspiration to all and has influenced thousands of children and adult visitors to Yosemite. I am one of those, having first met Carl on his meadow walk in June 1987. He was magical and delightful while encouraging all of us to develop a greater appreciation for wilderness.

Carl’s love for the flowers and the mountains defined his life, which he joyfully shared with all park visitors and friends. Wallace Stegner, the Pulitzer-prize winning author, once said, “A place is not fully a place until it has had its poet. Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada have had two great posts, Muir and Adams. In consequence I think these mountains are better understood, held worthier of respect and protection than they would be if those two had never looked on them with reverence and been delighted with spring dogwood blossoms, and exhilarated by glacier pavements, dazed by halfmile cliffs, and glorified by snow peaks blossoming like roses in the dawn.”

The third great poet of Yosemite is Carl Sharsmith, who looked on Tuolumne Meadows and its high country peaks with reverence, was delighted with sweet cassiope’s white blossoms, and exhilarated by his continued learning of nature's secrets, dazed by a sunlit meadow patched with delicately colored blossoms, and glorified by aster integrifolious stretching her angelical rays toward heaven.

Tuolumne Meadows had been Carl’s home since 1931. He was Tuolumne’s first Ranger-naturalist and was the meadows’ best friend since John Muir. Carl was greatly influenced by Muir, having first discovered, as a boy, Muir’s writings, which he said, “set me afire.”

Carl reflected, "I always knew about Yosemite because I knew the writings of John Muir by heart; and I was all prepared to see what I saw. Studying at the Yosemite Field School in 1930 was just the most wonderful thing I could do; and it led to an invitation to become a ranger-naturalist.”

Carl knew the importance of Yosemite to himself and shared his love of Yosemite with others for 63 years. He truly loved bringing people on mountain and wildflower walks. “He felt he had found his true calling- to protect and to expound the beauties of the Sierra. He knew it would take dedication for the naturalist program to succeed, and believed the future of the park depended in some measure upon his efforts,” wrote Elizabeth O’Neill in her biography of Carl, “Mountain Sage.”

Carl tried to convert visitors to his religion of the mountains through a good naturalist program. Carl’s ranger programs led park visitors to experience love for these mountain places and consequently he gained a good following to help protect the park.

Carl understood what motivates people to learn. “I find people are not interested in facts. The greater appeal is to the heart.” In Robert Redford’s film, “Yosemite: The Fate Of Heaven,” we can see Carl’s playfulness, his romance with nature, his wisdom, and his heartfelt desire that “we bring back the primitive, primeval condition that formerly existed in the park."

Carl’s nature writings, to be published soon in the book, “A Naturalist in Yosemite,” encourage us to experience the joy of observation and investigation into nature’s beauty in much the same way his nature walks delighted us.

Like Muir and Adams, Carl will have a peak named for him soon. Hopeful1y it will be the Tuolumne Meadow’s region peak, Peak 12,002,’ his “sundial.” Carl has several wildflowers named for him already. One is the beautiful forget-me- not flower, Hackalia sharsmithii, which grows only in the shadow of rocks in the Mt. Whitney area.

But Carl, the poet and venerable ranger-naturalist who obtained  extreme delight in explaining the life of his meadows as he reverently knelt down to see the faces of his flowers or the tiny snow fleas in the snow, would want us to honor him by having each one of us develop a greater appreciation of a wilderness to which he had dedicated his life. He would often tell us, “be enthusiastic and in love with the scene yourself so that it should convey itself to you!” Carl has encouraged my own love of flowers, lending me his botany notes and helping me with my studies. He makes the plants come to life in ou r minds and hearts. One of Carl’s favorite flowers is raggedy aster, aster integrifolius. He showed her to me on one of our special walks in the summer of 1989. “Her rays are blue, a heavenly blue, and she spreads them back, not horizontally like other asters, so when you look down into her little eyes it looks like an angel looking to heaven,” he poetically told me. Carl was loved by many and will be missed by all who knew him. I have so much more to say to Carl; and he had so much more to teach us all about nature’s beauty in his accurate and poetic style. Every time I climb a mountain, Carl will still be there in his ranger tent gently reminding me to make sure I visit with all the  flowers on the way to the summit.

I will always remember Carl. The  visits in his tent, in his home, at my home, our hikes, collecting specimens, listening to music, and all  our special times together will never be forgotten.

Working in Tuolumne Meadows is how Carl spent his last summer  “What else would I do‘? Tuolumne Meadows is home to me, so to speak. It is the happiest place in the mountains. God blessed this place. This is the place that holds; this is the place that charms he said.

He told me that in Tuolumne Meadows his spirit had found its home. Although Carl felt at home in the mountains, he realized he was only a visitor there, where the flowers and birds belong. He wanted knowledge of the mountains and that’s what he got. “Now what more could I desire or expect?” he asked.

Car1 died peacefully in bed at his winter home in San Jose. But his gentle spirit, like the gentle Tuolumne River he sang about on his nature walks, will live on forever. “Gentle river, gentle river, oh how happy you must be.” As the river continues forever to sing, Carl’s beautiful flower asks of us, “forget-me-not.” - Laura Sefchik

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