Yosemite National Park
by the scenic beauty of Yosemite and spurred on by the specter of
private exploitation of Yosemite's natural wonders, conservationists
appealed to Senator John Conness of California. On June 30, 1864,
President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill granting Yosemite
Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias to the State of California
as an inalienable public trust. This was the first time in history
that a federal government had set aside scenic lands simply to protect
them and to allow for their enjoyment by all people. This idea was
the spark that allowed for Yellowstone becoming the first official
national park a few years later, in 1872.
Later, John Muir's struggle against the devastation of the subalpine
meadows surrounding Yosemite Valley resulted in the creation of
Park on October 1, 1890. Military units with headquarters
in Wawona administered the park while the State of California continued
to govern the area covered by the original 1864 grant. Dual
control of Yosemite came to an end in 1906, when the State of California
receded Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove to the federal government.
Civilian park rangers took over from the military in 1914. Two
later, on August 25, 1916, through the persistent efforts of Steven
Mather and Horace Albright, Congress authorized the creation of
the National Park Service to administer all national parks "in
such manner and by such means as to leave them unimpaired for the
enjoyment of future generations."
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