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Yosemite National Park

By: C.M.Shorter

Yosemite Falls
Yosemite National Park

John Muir
Photo Credit:
Berkeley University
Photos from Yosemite National Park >>

Yosemite National Park is rich in cultural, ethnic and artisan history.  Yosemite is a land with native American Indian heritage for over 8,000 years.  At the time non-Indian explorers arrived in the Yosemite region in the mid-19th century, the valley was inhabited by the Southern Sierra Miwok Indians.  The Gold Rush brought thousands of settlers to these lands seeking fortune.  Explorers arriving in the 1830's and 1840's had already begun making their homes in the Sierra Nevada range.  Largely due to the efforts of our nation's great conservationist and naturalist John Muir, on October 1, 1890, the U.S. Congress officially set aside 1,500 square miles of "Reserved Forest Land", soon to be known as Yosemite National Park.


Yosemite is now one of the most traveled tourist destinations in the world receiving well over 4 million visitors annually.  People travel from the world over to Yosemite to witness its natural splendor.  The simplest things in the cycle of life here become a major event as people gather just to watch the Sunrise and the Sunset casting light over these timeless land formations carved for us by glaciers.  Elevations inside the park range from 2,000 feet to the highest point of 13,000 feet.  Developed roads inside Yosemite total just over 260 miles.  Wilderness hiking trails cover 840 miles with this land providing natural shelter & homes to over 240 species of birds, 80 species of mammals, and 1,400 species of flowers & trees including the California Black Oak, Incense Cedar, Giant Sequoia, Ponderosa Pine and coastal Pacific Redwoods.

Yosemite is a land full of natural wonders and wildlife.  Visitors can see Bald Eagles, Bighorn Sheep, Black Bears (often referred to as Grizzly Bears), Coyote, Golden Eagles, or Mule Deer early at dawn or in the early evening among fields of wildflowers blooming in season.  Naturalist exploring can also see Mountain Lions, Peregrine Falcons, Great Gray Owls, Spotted Bats and many species of birds.  In testament to John Muir's conservation philosophy of the need to preserve large tracks of unfragmented areas to achieve conservation success, almost 95% of Yosemite National Park lands are still today officially designated as "Wilderness". 

During a Moonlight Tour at full moon, over Yosemite Valley you may be lucky enough to see a Lunar Rainbow.  Among its many vistas, Glacier Point some say has the most spectacular breathtaking view of the high country, and includes a view of Half Dome. It is no wonder the 87 million year old plutonic granite of Half Dome dominates the scenery rising to an elevation of 8,842 feet.  Other prime vantage points include Inspiration Point, Tunnel View, El Capitan, Olmsted Point, Bridalveil Falls, and El Portal for some of the most popular scenic views of Yosemite’s natural wonders.  Late Spring is the best time to view the many Waterfalls of Yosemite with ice and snow cap run off at its peak.  Yosemite Falls is absolutely spectacular cascading 2,425 ft. and is one of the world’s tallest waterfalls. Near Tuolumne Meadows (the largest subalpine meadow in all of the Sierra Nevada range) you will find Tioga Pass, the highest pass for motor vehicles in California at an elevation reaching 9,945 feet.  

People travel the world over to come to Yosemite and for many reasons.  Photography, horseback riding, hiking, canoeing and just to spend time with nature.  Through the years people also come for many other reasons – Overnight Backcountry Camping, Weddings, or to spread the cremated remains of a loved one.  All the 3 latter are permissible but require the proper permits.  The weather in Yosemite can change in an instant and it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the conditions and make preparations before heading out into the open country.  Group tours are operated in season along the most familiar trails for the key vantage points.

President Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, Ansel Adams, and Galen Clark were all Conservation Leaders who campaigned to preserve and protect Yosemite Valley and the Giant Sequoia forests for the world to explore and enjoy.  We can thank them and the many others who worked with them to give our country its great wilderness heritage.

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As always, we hope you enjoyed this article featured as part of TigerHomes Sanctuary's continuing Educational Series. We also hope you will take this opportunity to visit our world renowned Animal Cams. You are invited to take your own snapshots and enter your pictures into our Viewer Gallery Contest for a chance to win monthly prizes! The SANCTUARY is a permanent home to Rare White Tigers, Golden Tigers, Bengal Tigers, Siberian Tigers, African Lions and Lemurs. Our residents are quite the characters and simply amazing to watch in their natural habitats. It is our Mission to preserve and protect these many Endangered Species. You can help save Endangered Species right now by visiting our Gift Shop.   Many animals of the Everglades can be seen first-hand in our TigerHomes Educational DVD Series, Florida's Wild Future. 

Photographs of Yosemite's Scenic Wonders >> Also: Cedar Key | Yosemite National Park | General Grant Tree
Related: Theodore Roosevelt | John Muir | Ansel Adams | Galen Clark | The Florida Everglades

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