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Considered by many to be the scenic crown jewel of American national parks, Yosemite encompasses an area about the size of Rhode Island in the Sierra Nevada. The centerpiece of the park is Yosemite Valley, a hallowed vale filled with fantastical rock formations, waterfalls, and other natural ...
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Considered by many to be the scenic crown jewel of American national parks, Yosemite encompasses an area about the size of Rhode Island in the Sierra Nevada. The centerpiece of the park is Yosemite Valley, a hallowed vale filled with fantastical rock formations, waterfalls, and other natural splendors. More than 90 percent of this incomparable preserve, however, is an unspoiled high-country wilderness of coniferous forests, sub-alpine meadows, ponds and lakes, deep canyons, snowy summits, and barren ridges and domes. The park also shelters a great diversity of wildlife from bobcats and black bears to birds of prey and songbirds. The impressive flora includes bright carpets of wildflowers and giant sequoias.
This compact book features 262 color photographs and maps of landscapes, wildlife, and plants. The first section contains three tours, illustrated by views that would be seen along these routes. The next sections are photographic portfolios of wildlife and plants. The informative text describes the park's natural and human history and suggests ways to explore Yosemite. This book is both useful as a trip-planner and memento of a wondrous national park.
Other Details: 320 full-color illustrations 280 pages 4 x 4" Published 1996
When Yosemite National Park came into being, America had just begun to realize that its spectacular wilderness could be vulnerable to exploitation.
Indeed, Yosemite may have first inspired the concept of national parks. In 1833, long before the National Park System was created, naturalist George Catlin wrote that Yosemite could be "a Nation's park containing man and beast, in all the wild and freshness of their nature's beauty." First explored by Native Americans, and later by trappers, miners, and pioneers, Yosemite and its wonders were chronicled by J. M. Hutchings and other writers in the late 1850s. Horace Greeley visited Yosemite in 1859 and wrote, "I know no single wonder of Nature on earth which can claim a superiority over the Yosemite."
Soon Frederick Law Olmsted was dispatched to this incredible place in the midst of his efforts to establish Central Park in New York City. Olmsted and others encouraged President Lincoln to preserve Yosemite, and on June 30, 1864, at the height of the Civil War, Yosemite Valley was granted to California as a public trust.
Probably more American leaders have fought for the preservation of Yosemite than any other park. John Muir struggled for years to protect Yosemite and the surrounding valleys from exploitation, and his writings helped bring about its establishment as a national park. Named a World Heritage Site in 1985, Yosemite serves as a model for other scenic wonders that are now part of the National Park System.
Today, Yosemite continues to stand as a symbol of the conflict about whether or not to preserve our natural heritage. While some seek to capture the wealth that comes from millions of visitors every year,others fight to save the air and water from pollution and to preserve some measure of solitude and sanctity.
We must decide whether Yosemite and other national parks will continue to be battlegrounds for humanity's diverse and conflicting expectations of nature, or places that offer people respite in difficult times. That is the challenge of our age.
Paul C. Pritchard
President, National Parks and Conservation Association
Author Biography: David Dunbar, the author of The Outdoor Traveler's Guide to Canada, is also a contributor to National Geographic books. Jerry Pavia's photographs appear in Creating a Garden for the Senses and in other gardening books and nature publications. Dunbar and Pavia have collaborated on Abbeville's Tiny Folio, Yellowstone National Park.