Yosemite National Park
In the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Central California lies Yosemite National Park, an awe-inspiring wilderness area the size of Rhode Island.
- The area that is now Yosemite National Park was the home of indigenous people for at least 3,000 years. Other groups have probably visited the area for 8,000 to 10,000 years.
- The Ahwannechee, which means “dwellers in Ahwanee” called the area home. They traded with other tribes and ate acorns, seeds, plants, berries, salmon, and deer.
- During the mid-1800s, white people came for the first time during the Gold Rush. Later, more people came as tourists to see the wild beauty of the area.
- In 1864, Galen Clark persuaded President Abraham Lincoln to pass the Yosemite Grant, which offered some protection to the area from overuse and development.
- Settlers continued to overuse the land for grazing livestock. The naturalist and conservationist John Muir was very concerned that the area’s resources would be destroyed.
- In 1903, he invited President Theodore Roosevelt on a three-day camping trip to the area. He asked President Roosevelt to transfer the land from state to federal ownership and protect it permanently. In 1906, President Roosevelt made the area a national park with national protection. This event led to the development of a national parks system in 1916.
- Yosemite National Park has an area of 748,436 acres. It includes glaciers, giant sequoia forests, lakes, granite cliffs, meadows, and waterfalls. Ribbon Falls drops 1,612 feet.
- The Wawona Tree was a 2,300-year-old tree that was 227 feet tall and 90 feet in circumference. In 1881, workers cut a tunnel through the tree wide enough for a carriage or car to pass through. The tree fell in 1969 after a heavy snowstorm.
- Indigenous: original to an area
- Granite: a type of very hard rock
Questions and Answers
Question: What types of plants and animals are found in Yosemite National Park?
Answer: Yosemite National Park, which has an altitude ranging from 2,127 feet to 13,114 feet above sea level, contains over 3,500 species of plants and many animals, such as mule deer, black bears, coyotes, cougars, bobcats, skinks, and birds. Brown bears no longer live in these mountains and several other animals are protected.
Visit the park’s official website.