“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
—John Muir, from Our National Parks (1901)
Yosemite Expansion introduced in Congress
The Yosemite National Park Boundary Expansion Act of 2013 (S.781/H.R. 1677) was introduced in the US Senate and House by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Costa (D-CA 16th). Current co-sponsors include Boxer, Huffman, Cardenas, Honda, Lee, Chu, Lowenthal, Schiff, and Cartwright. The California State Senate approved a joint resolution supporting the expansion (see what our California Republicans have to say about the bills below.)
Originally preserved in 1864, Yosemite National Park, with its dramatic vistas and breathtaking rock formations, is on the way to expanding its borders for the first time in more than 75 years.
PFT is working with Congress to expand Yosemite! In an effort to grow Yosemite National Park, we're pursuing a Boundary Line Adjustment (BLA) that will help save more than 2.5 square miles. Located on the vulnerable western border of the Park, the incorporation of these lands would protect the headwaters of several tributaries to the Merced, a national Wild and Scenic River, and preserve an important wildlife habitat corridor to nearby national forest lands.
Because any alteration of a national park's borders requires an act of Congress, the support of our California legislators is crucial to the success of this initiative. With Yosemite's sesquicentennial fast approaching, a BLA bill must be passed in this Congress if it is going to be completed in time for this momentous occasion.
A BLA is also more than an addition to Yosemite—it is a historic restoration. Adding lands back that were originally included in the Yosemite Grant, a BLA will better realize John Muir's revolutionary vision for Yosemite that sparked much of the region's conservation. PFT hopes that you help us continue John Muir's legacy of protection by supporting the BLA.
There is still work to do however. For a Boundary Line Adjustment to become law, it must be passed by the Senate as well as the House. Senator Feinstein (D-CA) can help make this happen, but she needs to hear from you that this is a priority. Contact her directly here to actively support the Yosemite Expansion and PFT!
Urge Congress to celebrate its original promise of protection for Yosemite 150 years ago by supporting this effort to fulfill John Muir's vision of the Park.
Not sure who your representatives are or how to contact them? Check here. Link to your representative's Web pages, click on the "contact" information, and choose options for emailing or sending print letters to representatives. Some also provide an option to "tweet" your legislator.
Benefits of the Boundary Line Adjustment
• Protects the YNP from development along its vulnerable western border.
California Senator Tom Berryhill (R – Modesto): Yosemite National Park is not only a national treasure, it is a source of great pride to those of us living in its shadow. Adding this 1,600-acre area to the Park is the right thing to do, both for the integrity of the Park and Sierra National Forest, as well as to protect the interests and finances of Mariposa County. I'm happy to join the County Board of Supervisors in supporting this effort, and to that end I am carrying Senate Joint Resolution 5 which will provide California's Legislature an opportunity to express our bipartisan support for this modest addition to Yosemite National Park.
California Assemblymember Frank Bigelow (R – Jackson): One hundred years ago, when my great grandfather Major John Bigelow Jr was the superintendent of Yosemite, one of the great challenges of the day was management conflict with private holdings in and around California's first and greatest park. Subsequent boundary changes and acquisitions resolved many of those issues, with a couple notable exceptions, including this area. I'm pleased to join Mariposa County is supporting this adjustment to Yosemite's boundary, and I look forward to seeing this area added to the Park.
California Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R – Modesto): I'm very pleased to see that this legislation allowing willing sellers to add key lands to Yosemite National Park has been reintroduced. This proposal has broad bi-partisan support here in California, and I hope that it finds the same support and ultimately success in Congress. It would be fitting to add this area to the Park in time for next year's 150th anniversary celebration of the original Yosemite Grant.
California U.S. Representative Costa (D – CA 16th): From Yosemite Falls to Half Dome to Tuolumne Meadows, there is no debating that Yosemite is one of our national treasures that must be preserved for future generations. This legislation marks the commitment of Californians from all walks of life to protecting and building on the legacy of the last 150 years.
U.S. Sentor Feinstien (D): [Yosemite’s] popularity is also its greatest challenge. New development in Yosemite West would increase the threat of fire, habitat fragmentation and degradation of creeks that flow into the park. Conservation efforts led by the Pacific Forest Trust have protected 800 acres west of the park, but the park’s boundary must be adjusted to allow the National Park Service to acquire these adjacent lands.
U.S. Sentor Boxer (D): I am so pleased to support this important legislation that further preserves Yosemite National Park for future generations.