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A group of Clampers at work at the Bass Lake monument site

Clampers to Dedicate New Bass Lake Monument

BASS LAKE — The Grub Gulch chapter of E. Clampus Vitus — better known as the “Clampers” — will dedicate their newest monument at Bass Lake next weekend.

The local Grub Gulch chapter of the Clampers will unveil their new historic monument at Bass Lake next Saturday at 4 p.m.

The monument, which commemorates the history of Bass Lake, Willow Creek and the recreational and commercial development history of the popular resort, is located at the Yosemite RV Park.

According to Dan Carrion, the group’s historian, the monument’s design fits in with the “mountain lodge theme” of area businesses.

The monument dedication, which will take place Saturday, Nov. 16 at 4 p.m., is open to the public.

At that event, the Clampers will conduct a brief unveiling ceremony, offer several speeches, including by the local chapter president and historian, and then officially install their traditional granite plaque on the front of the monument.

All Clamper monument dedications, according to club member Steve Varner,  are concluded “with a good shot of bourbon” poured over the top of the marker by the “Humbug” — the title the group bestows on their chapter president.

The “Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus” is a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation of the heritage of the American West, especially the history of the so-called “Mother Lode” and gold mining regions of the area.

According to Wikipedia, there are Clamper chapters in California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana and “outposts” in other western states.

In recent years, the club’s local chapter has dedicated a number of popular historical markers around eastern Madera County, including ones in North Fork, Raymond, Yosemite Lakes Park, Ahwahnee and O’Neals.

Members call themselves “Clampers” and the fun-loving organization’s name is so-called “dog Latin” and has no known meaning.

Even the organization’s spelling is disputed, sometimes appearing as “Clampus,” “Clampsus,” or “Clampsis.”

The Clamper’s motto — “Credo Quia Absurdum” — is generally interpreted as “I believe it because it is absurd.”

To learn more about the Clampers and the important work they do documenting and preserving the history of the mountain area, visit http://eclampusvitus.com where there is additional information on the nearly five dozen monuments the group has created — from Grub Gulch to Fresno Flats, Jones Store to the Little Church on the Hill and at Sierra Sky Ranch, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad and the Raymond Museum.

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