On 30 June 1864 President Abraham Lincoln took a break from attending to his duties during a particularly bloody period of the Civil War to sign the Yosemite Grant Act, a document that set aside the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias “upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort and recreation”.
The hugely important Act effectively signaled the start of the National Park movement – even though Yellowstone ultimately became the United States’ first official National Park – and provided a blueprint for other states and countries to follow.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Act, and the good people of Yosemite National Park are making the most of it, with a number of activities celebrating the park as well as the work of the visionaries – including as many writers, artists and photographers as conservationists – who led the campaign to preserve it for the enjoyment of all.
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