Monday, June 30, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 91

Happy Birthday, Yosemite!

This year marks Yosemite National Park's sesquicentennial -- 150 years old!
Bob was born and raised in the park because his dad worked for Curry Company and his mom worked at the hospital in the park, so of course, Yosemite is pretty important to him. 

On June 30, 1864, Exactly 150 years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Land Grant, which protected Yosemite and the Mariposa Grove there, and eventually led to the National Park system. This morning at 10:00, there was a ceremony at Mariposa Grove, in the midst of the more than 500 giant Sequoias there, to commemorate this incredible occasion. 

Of course, Bob and I had to go.
We both took the day off from work, and got up really early to drive up, as we knew they were expecting a large crowd. We had to park at Goat Meadows, right before the south park entrance, as they weren't allowing cars up to the grove; there would be too many people there. We took a bus from there to Mariposa Grove. Of course, it was a little weird for Bob to do such a "tourist" think in Yosemite.
 But the trees and the ceremony were worth it.

 We'd read in the paper that Les James, a tribal elder of the American Indian Council of Mariposa County and a friend of Bob's, would be doing a native blessing at the ceremony. We were able to chat with him a bit in the parking lot prior to the ceremony, as well as to his wife, and another old friend of Bob's, Bill Tucker.
 Les James and Bill Tucker being greeted by some of the 
rangers, and finding their reserved seats prior to the ceremony.
Les during the blessing; this photo was taken by
Craig Kohlruss, Associated Press.
 We also got to see Parker Bevington, one of Bob's nephews. He is on the left above, and is a Yosemite fire fighter. He and his wife, Elise, and two sons, Joel and Arlo, live in the park in Wawona -- LUCKY!!! We went to visit them after the ceremony, and should have taken some pics, but didn't.
 The ceremony opened with rangers on horseback. Some were in period dress, like this ranger, Shelton Johnson, who was dressed as a Buffalo Soldier.
Photo Credit: Craig Kohlruss, AP
 The sun eventually came through the trees, so a lot of people -- us included -- took to standing in the surrounding shade to beat the heat. Above, the Yosemite Conservancy hands over a $12.6 million check that is the first installment of $20 million that they're giving the park to restore the Mariposa Grove closer to its natural condition. For instance, there is asphalt all over, which is hurting the roots of the giant trees, so most of that will be taken out.
It was very cool to be there for such a momentous occasion.
Lincoln never had the chance to visit Yosemite, and signed the grant during the Civil War, after seeing pictures like the one below.
We should all be thankful he did.

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