Winter Hours: Closed for Season
Saturday, September 13th, 2014, the museums media room hosted one of their Sierra Voice Presentations. Presenter, Jeff Young, a Shaver Lake native and Central Sierra Historical Society Board Member, educated his audience on the life of a Sierra Nevada fur trapper, “Shorty” Lovelace.
Shorty loved the Sierra. In the mountains he
not only felt at home, but often when he was among the pines he could
escape the siren call of the bottle. By 1910, with the help of his
brothers, Shorty had embarked on a career that tried to capitalize on
these twin facts — he had become a fur trapper.
Each fall for the next three decades, Shorty would take a pack train into
the mountains to cache supplies for his winter trapping. At the same
time he often built tiny log cabins to serve as shelters. Many of these
little cabins were no more than 6 by 10 feet on the ground and perhaps
5-6 feet high. With a stone fireplace on one wall and a built-in bunk on
the other, the cabins provided Shorty with snug protection from the
Sierra’s winter snowstorms.
During the 1920s and 1930s Shorty trapped all over the southern two-
thirds of what is now Kings Canyon National Park. His preferred prey
was the pine marten, a house-cat-sized member of the weasel family.
He trapped in the winter because that was when the pelts of the
animals he caught were at their best.
All this came to an end in 1940 when Congress created Kings Canyon
National Park. Hunting and trapping were not allowed in the new park,
and Shorty was forced to abandon his Kings Canyon trap-lines and
move north to another part of the Sierra.
No one besides Shorty ever knew exactly how many cabins he built.
Over the years we’ve found more than a dozen and others certainly
existed. Shorty purposefully made the cabins hard to find for anyone
but himself. Today, the National Parks Service preserves several of
Shorty’s cabins, and the entire set is listed on the National Register of
Shorty would no doubt be amazed. What started out as nothing more
than a way to stay sober and make a little pocket money is now part of
America’s preserved cultural heritage.”