Following three long years of restoration work on Yosemite’s famed Mariposa Grove, park officials are ready for its grand reopening on Friday, June 14th.
Mariposa Grove is famous for being one of the largest collection of mature trees in the world. The grove’s sequoias are among the largest living things on earth, reaching up to 285 feet tall, with bark more than a foot thick and dating back 2,000 years.
The $40 million restoration project was only supposed to last two years, but park officials took their time to get the destination perfect. The area was set aside for protection under President Abraham Lincoln, and its tress have been dazzling visitors for over 150 years.
The restoration project was started in order to help preserve the roots of the massive sequoia trees. After many updates to the area over the past 150 years – roads, trails and buildings – the health of the massive root system was questioned. The restoration project made sense to everyone.
Many updates were made to the area. A 110 car parking lot was eliminated, state-of-the-art restrooms were constructed and four new miles of hiking trails were built. They also planted thousands of native plants, including lupin, wild strawberries, and near the streams, willows, sedges and dogwood.
Instead of a nearby parking lot, visitors will now park at the South Entrance and will be bused in. This will eliminate damage from motor vehicles.
Mariposa Grove is one of Yosemite’s original landmarks. On June 30, 1864, while the Civil War still raged, President Lincoln signed a two-paragraph bill that changed America’s landscape forever. Lincoln’s “Yosemite Grant Act” is widely seen as the birth of America’s national park system.
John Muir once called the trees of Mariposa Grove as “nature’s forest masterpiece, and so far as I know, the greatest of living things.”