Project overview: Ensure the continued success of Yosemite’s long-running mounted patrol program by bringing in at least four new horses and mules and allowing older animals to retire.

The backstory: Yosemite’s mounted patrol has roots in the 1890s, when U.S. cavalry soldiers served as inaugural park rangers, but it is far from antiquated. The program has evolved through the decades, earning a celebrated reputation within and beyond the National Park System while remaining indispensable to park operations. Today, Yosemite rangers rely on horses and mules to conduct search and rescue operations, traverse rough backcountry terrain for supply deliveries, inspire and educate visitors, and more.

Many of the park’s long-serving “four-legged rangers” have contributed years of valuable, rigorous work to the mounted patrol team and are nearing the end of their careers. Since 2015, Conservancy donors have been helping to ensure Yosemite’s equine program can continue its long legacy as an essential element of the park, by bringing in new horses and mules. Once the new animals join the team, older ones are adopted out to carefully selected homes to enjoy a well-earned retirement. Funding has also supported mounted patrol trainings that give rangers — and new horses — an in-depth introduction to the park’s equestrian traditions.

This year: In 2021, your support will go toward purchasing and training at least four new horses and mules, allowing as many as six animals to retire from the park’s patrol program. The new horses and mules, like their predecessors and peers, will play a vital role throughout the park, from visitor education in the Valley to wilderness patrols in the remote backcountry.

Project partner: Yosemite National Park.

Clifton Ashley

Mounted Patrol Program, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

“Yosemite’s mounted patrol is surrounded by a celebrated history and tradition. The continued support from Yosemite Conservancy allows us to secure that legacy for the next generation of rangers and visitors to experience.”