Credit: Anita Ritenour
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK -- Anyone heading to Yosemite is going to have a little bit more room to stretch their legs as a result of the Park’s largest expansion in nearly 70 years.
The Trust for Public Land and the Yosemite Conservancy, with support from the National Park Trust and American Rivers organizations, recently purchased the Ackerson Meadow, located along the western boundary of the Park.
“The original Yosemite boundary plans of 1890 included Ackerson Meadow, so it is exciting to finally have this important place protected,” said Yosemite Conservancy President Frank Dean.
The meadow, roughly 400 acres in all, was purchased for $2.3 Million and donated to the park. To put that into perspective, that’s the size of just over 300 football fields.
The majority of funds used to acquire the property came from the Trust for Public Land, which provided $1.53 million and the Yosemite Conservancy, which provided $520,000.
“The generous donation of Ackerson Meadow will preserve critical meadow habitat that is home to a number of state and federally listed protected species,” said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher. “It’s a stunning open meadow surrounded by forest habitat, which supports a wide variety of flora and fauna species and offers new meadow experiences for park visitors. This meadow is a remarkable gift to the American people, coming at an historic time as we celebrate the Centennial of the National Park Service.”
“Donating the largest addition since 1949 to one of the world’s most famous parks is a great way to celebrate the 100th birthday of our National Park Service – and honor John Muir’s original vision for the park. We are delighted, and proud to make this gift to Yosemite, and the people of America” said Will Rogers, President of The Trust for Public Land.
Robin and Nancy Wainwright sold the land to the trust. Robin Wainwright told the Associated Press that they lost a "few hundred thousand dollars" by not taking an offer from a developer looking to build a resort. "To have that accessible by everyone to me is just a great thing," Wainwright said. "It was worth losing a little bit of money for that."
The meadows of Yosemite account for just three percent of the park’s total area but are home to 33 percent of all plant diversity found in the park and provide critical wildlife habitat.