YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — Yosemite National Park on Monday marked 150 years since President Abraham Lincoln signed an act protecting the park for generations of visitors.
The celebration included a groundbreaking to launch a project restoring the Mariposa Grove, which comprises 500 mature giant sequoia trees that are among the oldest living organisms in the world.
National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said the anniversary should be a reminder of the ancient treasures within the park.
"We stand in awe among these giant trees that are thousands of years old and are reminded about the importance of protecting our natural resources so that future generations can experience what John Muir called 'nature's forest masterpiece,'" Jarvis said.
Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act on June 30, 1864, in the midst of the Civil War. The act protected Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove "for public use, resort and recreation." The law was the first in the nation's history allowing for a scenic natural area to be set aside.