YOSEMITE – A place that’s already great and big just got bigger and better. Yosemite National Park has grown in size with the addition of 400 acres of critical wetlands and meadow habitat on the park’s western boundary.
The landmark addition is known as Ackerson Meadow. It was donated to the park through a cooperative effort between The Trust for Public Land, Yosemite Conservancy, and the National Park Service.
The Trust for Public Land purchased Ackerson Meadow from private owners for $2.3 million earlier this year, and today it was donated to the National Park Service to be part of Yosemite National Park.
Funds to buy the property came from several major contributors to The Trust for Public Land, including a bequest of $1.53 million and $520,000 by the nonprofit Yosemite Conservancy, with additional support from National Park Trust and American Rivers.
“The generous donation of Ackerson Meadow will preserve critical meadow habitat that is home to a number of state and federally listed protected species,” says 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 a historic time as we celebrate the Centennial of the National Park Service.”
Will Rogers, President of The Trust for Public Land, says the donation is the greatest in size made to the park since 1949.
“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,” Rogers says.
Yosemite’s meadows are vitally important habitats, and Ackerson Meadow provides critical habitat for hundreds of plant and animal species. At just three percent of Yosemite National Park’s area, meadows may be home to one-third of all of the plant species found in the park.
Most of San Francisco’s water is filtered by Yosemite’s meadows, including Ackerson Meadow.
“The original Yosemite boundary plans of 1890 included Ackerson Meadow, so it is exciting to finally have this important place protected,” notes Yosemite Conservancy President Frank Dean. “The purchase supports the long term health of the meadow and its wild inhabitants, and creates opportunities for visitors to experience a beautiful Sierra meadow.”
In recent decades, Yosemite Conservancy has funded restoration and protection of ten meadows, such as Stoneman, Cook’s and Sentinel meadows in Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows in the high country.
Yosemite National Park celebrated its 125th Anniversary last year and is currently celebrating its Centennial Anniversary with the National Park Service. The park welcomes over four million visitors from all over the world each year and serves as a strong economic engine for the region and local communities.
Yosemite National Park generates $535 million in economic benefit to the local region and directly supports 6,261 jobs.
The park is home to Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America, and iconic rock formations such as Half Dome and El Capitan. The park also features approximately 90 different species of mammals and over 1500 species of plants.
Read more here: Yosemite National Park
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.
Through the support of donors, Yosemite Conservancy provides grants and support to Yosemite National Park to help preserve and protect Yosemite today and for future generations. Work funded by the Conservancy is visible throughout the park, in trail rehabilitation, wildlife protection and habitat restoration. The Conservancy is also dedicated to enhancing the visitor experience and providing a deeper connection to the park through outdoor programs, volunteering, wilderness services and its bookstores. Thanks to dedicated supporters, the Conservancy has provided more than $100 million in grants to Yosemite National Park.
Photographs of Ackerson Meadow courtesy of NPS