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The History of the Yosemite National Park and the National Parks System in America

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Tucked away in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, beyond California’s Central Valley, lies Yosemite National Park. The park is over 700,000 acres, and approximately four million people visit it every year. Many consider it to be the most beautiful national park in the US, and they are definitely not wrong. With the granite cliffs towering thousands of feet above you, it is a landscape like no other. That is why it was dedicated a World Heritage Site in 1984. The National Parks System is the part of the government that contains all of the national parks and monuments. It employs over 20,000 people at over 400 locations spread out across the United States. They are considered integral to supporting the wilderness in the US.

Yosemite was one of the first national parks in the United States. It was important for the idea of more national parks in the US. Yosemite National Park was formed because people, such as Galen Clark and John Conness, lobbied to preserve the park. Abraham Lincoln preserved it with the Yosemite Grant in 1864. But all the grant preserved was the valley. Later, John Muir advocated for more protection of the park, including the mountains and other forests. The meadows were overgrazed by sheep and the sequoia trees were overlogged. John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt camped out three days at Glacier Point, and after that, he convinced Roosevelt to dedicate more area to the park. Roosevelt fell in love with the park and wanted to save more of it. When Roosevelt got back to the White House, he did exactly that. Before the National Park Service was formed, parks were managed and maintained by the Army. This is where the park rangers of today get their famous hats from. The National Parks Service was made in 1916, and Yosemite and the other National Parks at the time were transferred under their jurisdiction. Today, under the National Parks System, which is maintained by the National Parks Service, there are over 84 million acres of parks across the US. That really is a huge amount considering a decent size lot for a house in a neighborhood is 1-2 acres.

Yosemite and the National Parks System are both very important for the US and for the people of the US. They help to preserve at least some wilderness in our country where it seems like more land is always being developed. Many of these parks are weekend getaways for families from civilization and everyday life. They are very significant to our country, to the people of this country, and to the ecosystems that reside there. These parks impact people everyday by amazing them with their beauty, or for some people, annoying with their lack of connection to the online world since many of the parks are very remote and do not get good cell reception, if they get any at all.

When Yosemite and some of the other early national parks were first made, there was very few challenges in getting them approved. The president had the power to make national parks. The only people who didn’t want Yosemite to be made into a national park were the logging companies that wanted to log the land, which would have destroyed the beauty. The only other people who would have been opposed to it were those who believe that the federal government should own as little land as possible, but they weren’t going to fight the government on this, and even if they did, there would have been nothing they could do to stop it. The solution to this was found under the Antiquities Act, the president had the power to decide if areas should become national parks or not.

It’s amazing that even back when this was occurring, there were still people who wanted to preserve some of the most beautiful areas in America, and that it was successful. Clearly, many people are grateful for their work in preserving Yosemite, considering four million people visit the park every year. It truly is a beautiful landscape, and personally, I am very grateful that it was preserved.

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