Yosemite National Park

YosemiteNationalPark-sig.jpg
Yosemite, CA
United States
Yosemite National Park

The granting of the 3600 acres of Yosemite Valley and 2500 acres of the Mariposa Big Tree Grove to the state of California by the federal government in 1864 constitutes the first-in-the-world efforts of a central government to set aside land for non-utilitarian purposes, and set precedent for the National Park System in the United States. When California accepted the grant in 1864 and appointed an eight person Board of Commissioners, Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. became the chairman. Through the efforts of John Muir and other like-minded activists, Yosemite became a national park in 1890 during the same week that Glacier National Park in Montana and Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., were established. The park extends from the Mariposa Grove at the southern tip northward through the upper Merced River watershed, which includes Yosemite Valley and Little Yosemite Valley, northward through the upper Tuolumne River watershed. This northern portion is home to the flooded Hetch Hetchy valley reservoir, which supplies the urban areas of San Francisco, 190 miles west. The boundaries of the park continued to evolve through the Mission 66 era, eventually encompassing 1169 square miles. In 1984 Yosemite was recognized as a World Heritage Site.