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Environment & Science

Great news for nature lovers: Yosemite is expanding




A photo provided by The Trust for Public Land shows Ackerson Meadow in Yosemite National Park, Calif. Visitors to the park now have more room to explore nature with the announcement on Wednesday that the park's western boundary has expanded to include Ackerson Meadow, 400 acres of tree-covered Sierra Nevada foothills, grassland and a creek that flows into the Tuolumne River.
A photo provided by The Trust for Public Land shows Ackerson Meadow in Yosemite National Park, Calif. Visitors to the park now have more room to explore nature with the announcement on Wednesday that the park's western boundary has expanded to include Ackerson Meadow, 400 acres of tree-covered Sierra Nevada foothills, grassland and a creek that flows into the Tuolumne River.
Robb Hirsch/AP
A photo provided by The Trust for Public Land shows Ackerson Meadow in Yosemite National Park, Calif. Visitors to the park now have more room to explore nature with the announcement on Wednesday that the park's western boundary has expanded to include Ackerson Meadow, 400 acres of tree-covered Sierra Nevada foothills, grassland and a creek that flows into the Tuolumne River.
Visitors look up at the El Capitan monolith in the Yosemite National Park in California.
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images
A photo provided by The Trust for Public Land shows Ackerson Meadow in Yosemite National Park, Calif. Visitors to the park now have more room to explore nature with the announcement on Wednesday that the park's western boundary has expanded to include Ackerson Meadow, 400 acres of tree-covered Sierra Nevada foothills, grassland and a creek that flows into the Tuolumne River.
A picture taken March 08, 2014 shows a Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) at Yosemite National Park. Over 3.7 million people visit Yosemite each year, as most spend their time in the seven square miles (18 km2) of Yosemite Valley. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images
A photo provided by The Trust for Public Land shows Ackerson Meadow in Yosemite National Park, Calif. Visitors to the park now have more room to explore nature with the announcement on Wednesday that the park's western boundary has expanded to include Ackerson Meadow, 400 acres of tree-covered Sierra Nevada foothills, grassland and a creek that flows into the Tuolumne River.
A picture taken March 08, 2014 shows a view of Yosemite National Park valley. The park is about 220,000 visits shy of the 1996 record of 4.2 million — with November and December still left to count.
MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images


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The National Parks Service turned one hundred this year and now they have another reason to celebrate. After many years of effort, Yosemite National Park is expanding to include Ackerson Meadow - the park's largest expansion since 1949.

Take Two’s A Martinez spoke with Markley Bavinger, Sierra Project Manager for the Trust for Public Lands about Yosemite's newest addition and what visitors can expect.

Highlights

On Ackerson Meadow

Ackerson Meadow is an expansive meadow system that can be enjoyed by visitors either that pass through Evergreen Road on their way to Hetch Hetchy or Camp Mather or even now it that it is open to the public, wants to get out of their car and...see the majesty of that landscape.

On the importance of the expanding Yosemite

This is the biggest expansion in seventy years. It’s a little known fact that Yosemite was actually reduced by about thirty percent from its original boundary between 1905 and 1937. Ackerson Meadow was one of the properties that was taken out of that original boundary line as a result from pressure from private sector interests. As of yesterday, this land was actually returned to Yosemite National Park.

On the size of Ackerson Meadow

It’s four hundred acres which doesn’t sound like much but Yosemite only has about three percent of its acreage as meadow habitat and that equals approximately a third of all the plant species in the park, so as a biodiversity hotspot, this is really one of the most important places that is now a part of the park.   

On the threat to endangered wildlife

It’s something that the park is giving serious considerations to and it's been part of our discussions from the beginning. I think that the fact that this land is going to Parks Service is really a wonderful benefit to all those species given that their mission is so completely connected with protecting land for natural resources. I think as we look ahead, we can trust that the Parks Service is going to be doing everything they can to protect those very concerns.

On accessing Ackerson Meadow

It’s just off of Highway 120. You head towards that Big Oak Flat Entrance and head up to Hetch Hetchy off of Evergreen Road.

*Quotes have been edited for clarity

Click the blue arrow above for the full interview