Shaping a Park
Colonel Young: A Buffalo Soldier
The road to Moro Rock is part of the legacy of a young army officer who became America's first black national park superintendent. Captain Charles Young, a West Point graduate, commanded the cavalry units of Buffalo Soldiers who were assigned here in 1903. Before there were park rangers, the military guarded national parks. Young's troops were the first African-Americans to do so.
Young sensed what this remote park needed: public access and protection. In just one summer he and his men completed many projects, including the first wagon road to the Giant Forest and the Moro Rock Road. They took some of the first vital steps toward long-term protection of this park. Captain Young later earned the rank of colonel, and became a national figure. A sequoia named for him stands a short distance up this trail.
The people of the adjoining country and tourists are awakening to the benefits and beauties of the park and desire to protect the game and forests ....
Who Were the Buffalo Soldiers
"Buffalo Soldiers" were African Americans who served in the United States Cavalry after the Civil War, primarily in the American West. It is believed that American Indians—who revered the buffalo—gave
the name in tribute to the soldiers' courage, skill, and appearance. These soldiers carried the name with pride.
Champion Tree for a Champion of the Park
Charles Young accomplished so much here that many wanted to name a sequoia to honor him. Humbly, he chose instead to name one for "that great and good American, Booker T. Washington."