Abraham Lincoln signed act protecting valley and grove
Yosemite National Park on Monday marked 150 years since former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed an act protecting the park for generations of visitors.
Yosemite and California State Parks Mounted Patrol open ceremonies marking the 150th Anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act and groundbreaking for the restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias June 30. Former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant in 1864, ushering in the national park idea. ‚ÄĒ Photo by Associated Press Photo/Yosemite Conservancy, Al Golub
The celebration included a groundbreaking to launch a project restoring the Mariposa Grove, which consists of 500 mature giant sequoia trees that are among the oldest living organisms in the world.
National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said the anniversary should be a reminder of the ancient treasures within the park.
‚ÄúWe stand in awe among these giant trees that are thousands of years old and are reminded about the importance of protecting our natural resources so that future generations can experience what John Muir called ‚Äėnature‚Äôs forest masterpiece,‚ÄĚ‚Äô Jarvis said.
Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act on June 30, 1864, in the midst of the Civil War.
The act protected Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove ‚Äúfor public use, resort and recreation.‚ÄĚ The law was the first in the nation‚Äôs history allowing for a scenic natural area to be set aside.
The grove restoration project was approved in December 2013. The $36-million project is paid for through $20 million in private contributions raised by the Yosemite Conservancy and $16 million from the National Park Service.
Parking lot will be moved
A parking lot that threatens the trees‚Äô roots will be moved to another area and replaced with footpaths, among other changes to the park. The work will happen in phases over several years.
‚ÄúThe project will restore much of the Mariposa Grove to its natural state,‚ÄĚ said the conservancy‚Äôs president, Mike Tollefson, ‚Äúso that visitors will be able to experience one of the world‚Äôs most inspiring natural cathedrals in a more serene setting.‚ÄĚ