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Steven Medley, 57; Longtime President of Nonprofit Group That Promotes Yosemite

October 08, 2006|Dennis McLellan | Times Staff Writer

Steven Medley, the longtime president of the nonprofit Yosemite Assn. and author of a popular Yosemite National Park guidebook, has died. He was 57.

Medley, a resident of Oakhurst, Calif., died in a single-car accident Thursday morning on rain-slick California 140. He was driving to the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley for a luncheon meeting of the Yosemite Rotary Club, of which he was president, said park spokesman Scott Gediman. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.

"Steve was a fixture in the Yosemite community," said Gediman, who had worked closely with Medley. "This is a huge, huge loss."

Medley, who worked first as a seasonal and then as a year-round permanent employee at Yosemite in the 1970s, was an attorney in private practice before joining the Yosemite Assn. as president in 1985.

The association supports the National Park Service in many ways, including donating profits from educational materials, providing volunteers and college-age interns who work in visitor services and helping with restoration projects throughout the park.

During his 21 years with the organization, Medley edited and produced more than 50 publications. He wrote "The Complete Guidebook to Yosemite," which has sold more than 100,000 copies, and "The Animals of Yosemite," a children's book.

"I think his biggest contribution was furthering the efforts of the National Park Service in interpreting what Yosemite National Park is all about," Gediman said. "That includes education, preservation and enjoyment. Literally, the very last day, he was supporting the National Park Service and furthering the mission."

Medley was born July 11, 1949, and grew up in Gilroy, Calif. He earned a bachelor's degree in film and broadcasting from Stanford University, a master's of library science from the University of Oregon and a law degree from UC Davis.

He is survived by his wife, Jane, and sons Andy, Joe and Charlie.

A memorial service is pending.

dennis.mclellan

@latimes.com

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