From the monthly archives:

February 2009

One of the largest and most beautiful national parks in the entire United States is Yosemite National Park in California.  The land within the boundaries of the park was first set aside by a bill signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.  Over the course of the next century and a half, and more, millions of people have come to enjoy the outdoor recreation possibilities, as well as the just the tremendous amount of natural scenery found at Yosemite National Park.  There are more than 760,000 acres of land protected within the park, though the most popular area of it by far is the Yosemite Valley found near the main entrance.  The park offers a number of activities including bird watching, hiking, backpacking, picnicking, sightseeing, biking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, and both downhill and cross-country skiing.  Much about this popular vacation attraction is known, but here are five things you may not know about Yosemite National Park.


1.  The Ahwahnee Hotel, located in Yosemite National Park’s Yosemite Valley, is one of the more popular destination hotels in the area.  It opened in 1927 and has served the public well ever since.  In 1943 during World War II, it was taken over by the United States Navy and used as a recovery hospital for injured veterans returning from the war.


2.  Yosemite National Park is one of the larger national parks in the United States and consists of approximately 1,189  square miles.  This makes this popular national park in the state of California roughly the same size as the state of Rhode Island.


3.  Since the national park is under the jurisdiction of the federal government, it required an act of Congress to authorize the building of the O’Shaughnessy Dam which dammed water into the Hetch Hetchy Valley and provides water and electricity to the citizens of San Francisco, San Mateo County, Alameda County and the San Joaquin Valley.  The dam was controversial at the time as many supporters of the park fought hard against what they argued was an infringement on this part of the wilderness area within Yosemite National Park.


4.  While a number of the more famous and popular sites can be viewed from car windows and viewing platforms, one of the most gratifying ways of seeing the park is by either hiking or backpacking to locations that the general public will never see.  Within Yosemite National Park there are more than 800 miles of hiking trails that visitors can explore at their leisure.


5.  Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in all of North America, measuring in at 2,390 feet tall from where it spills over the cliff wall to the pool below the lowest falls plunge.  In late summer during a drought year, it isn’t uncommon for Yosemite Falls to cease flowing.  An extremely difficult challenge that some choose to participate in during these times are to rock climb the cliff wall where the waterfall once flowed.


Located just three hours from San Francisco and six hours from Los Angeles, the people of California have little reason to not go and see one of the most beautiful areas in the country, Yosemite National Park.  The park is also a fabulous destination for visitors from outside the state too.  Whether someone wants to pursue an activity within the park like snowshoeing or rock climbing, or if they want to just enjoy some of the incredible things to see in the park like Yosemite Falls and el Capitan, a trip to Yosemite is both a treat and an opportunity to see things that they’ll remember the rest of their life.  A trip to Yosemite National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people lucky enough to see this fabulous location firsthand, anyone in the area with an opportunity to go should definitely do so.



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