On October 1, 2015, the park will commemorate the 125th anniversary of the establishment of Yosemite National Park. President Benjamin Harrison signed the legislation, thereby creating the nation’s third National Park. The establishment of Yosemite National Park preserved over 1,500 square miles of land including Tuolumne Meadows, the park’s high country, Hetch Hetchy and lands surrounding Yosemite Valley.
The creation of Yosemite National Park added protected land to the existing Yosemite Grant Act of 1864. This landmark law protected Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and was managed by the State of California. Preservation of these lands is generally regarded as the birth of the national park idea. The creation of the park and the Yosemite Grant collectively preserved most of Yosemite National Park as it is known today.
The celebrated conservationist John Muir played an important role in advocating the protection of the vast high-elevation meadows, rivers, majestic mountains, and deep valleys that make up the heart of the High Sierra. Muir was also instrumental in influencing President Theodore Roosevelt to recede the Yosemite Grant lands to the federal government in June 1906. The National Park Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior, was established on August 25, 1916 to manage all National Park sites across the country, including the crown jewel, Yosemite National Park.
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