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Celebrating 150 years of Yosemite beauty
Yosemite pic
Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon as seen from Glacier Point. - photo by Journal file photo

The 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant will be commemorated on Monday with a historic ceremony,  heritage fair, and ground breaking of the Mariposa Grove Restoration Project.

A formal ceremony will mark the anniversary of then President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant on June 30, 1864, ushering in the national park idea.  In 1890, the land surrounding the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove was designated Yosemite National Park. Early conservationist John Muir’s persuasive words to President Roosevelt and state authorities led to combining Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove with Yosemite National Park in 1906.

The landmark ceremony held at the Mariposa Grove will include remarks from Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, U. S. Congressmen Tom McClintock and Jim Costa and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis.

The celebrations will also include a groundbreaking ceremony for the Mariposa Grove Restoration Project. Mariposa Grove is home to about 500 giant sequoias, and more than a million people travel here to see them each year. Park officials say all of the traffic and concrete are taking a toll on the rare trees.

The project will see the parking lot torn out, the gift shop moved, and trams will no longer run. Instead, a larger parking area will be added to the south entrance, just two miles away, and shuttles will take visitors to pedestrian trails that are handicap accessible. The project is funded for $16 million, plus $20 million raised by the Yosemite Conservancy and is expected to be completed in August 2016 — just in time for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

A Park Heritage Fair and other public events will be held starting at 11 a.m. in front of the Valley Visitor Center.