California’s Yosemite National Park gets even bigger

Visitors to Yosemite National Park in California will soon have more room to roam. Officials announced that 162 hectares of land have been donated to the park, the largest expansion in nearly 70 years.

The area, known as Ackerson Meadow, is located along Yosemite’s western boundary. It features wetlands and a grassy meadow surrounded by pine trees on rolling hills that are home to endangered wildlife.

The land was purchased from private owners by the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation group, for $2.3 million and donated to the park.

Yosemite will preserve the land — historically used for logging and cattle grazing — as habitat for wildlife.

Robin and Nancy Wainwright, who had owned the land since 2006, sold it to the trust. Robin Wainwright said they lost a “few hundred thousand dollars” selling to the trust, and the couple also passed up a lucrative offer from a developer to build a resort.

He said he often saw bears strolling through the meadow and owls soaring over fields of wildflowers blooming in the springtime. He didn’t want that experience available only to those who could afford a resort.

“To have that accessible by everyone to me is just a great thing,” Wainwright said. “It was worth losing a little bit of money for that.”

The National Park Service, which marked its 100th birthday in 2016, has been called “America’s best idea” because of its preservation of natural beauty as well as its openness to all. The National Park Service manages the United States’ 59 national parks and 84 national monuments.

One way to see the parks is through vintage posters.

Banner reading "Find your park" (National Park Service)
(National Park Service)