One of America’s most famous national treasures, Yosemite National Park has been to set to expand westward by 400 acres, the largest expansion in nearly seven decades.
The new addition of land, known as the Ackerson Land, has an ecosystem which is thriving and also features meadows and wetlands which are home to numerous animal and plant species.
According to the LA Times, Park officials stated “The donated land is composed of three connected meadows, nourished by a perennial creek and inhabited by bear, deer, coyotes and other animals. The great gray owls that live there are the world’s largest by length.”
Since 2006, Robert and Nancy Wainwright owned the land before selling it to the Trust for Public Land. Earlier, a developer had offered to purchase the land with intentions to one day build a resort. However, the Wainwrights had declined the lucrative offer because they wanted the land to be enjoyed by all people, not just visitors who could afford to pay for their stay at the resort, according to BBC.
The Trust for Public Land paid for the bulk of the purchase while the Yosemite Conservancy, National Park Trust and American Rivers and anonymous donors contributed to the purchase price of 2.3 million dollars. The Trust for Public then donated the land to Yosemite National Park.
Despite such a historical event news, some complaints have been raised in response to the expansion. Before the sale, the Ackerson Land had been used by local cattle ranchers for at least a hundred years as they would have their cattle graze on the open meadows and by loggers who would cut down trees for harvest. However, now that the land has been acquired by Yosemite National Park, such practices will have to end.
Yosemite National Park was first protected in 1846 and created in 1890, according to the official park website. The park is situated in the central eastern parts of California and is about 1200 square miles in area. The park welcomes four million visitors every year and is open every single day, all year round. The park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and just celebrated its 125th anniversary last year.