YOSEMITE — The National Park Service announced $15 million in support of 69 projects in 63 parks, including $1,165,000 for the Restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias at Yosemite National Park.
This funding augments other National Park Service funds and a Yosemite Conservancy donation of $20 million to make the restoration project possible.
This landmark restoration of the Mariposa Grove is currently in progress and expected to be completed in the spring of 2017. The Mariposa Grove is Yosemite’s largest grove of Giant Sequoias and this legacy project will protect the trees, improve habitat, and greatly improve the visitor experience.
The additional funding is provided through the National Park Service’s Centennial Challenge Program, which leverages partnerships and connections with communities to improve visitor services, support outreach to new audiences, and reinvigorate national parks. Congress provided $15 million for the Centennial Challenge projects, which will be matched by almost $33 million from more than 90 park partners. The 69 projects total almost $48 million and are located at 63 parks in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“As the National Park Service enters its centennial year in 2016, Congress and generous partners across the country are making exceptional investments to improve park facilities, enhance their accessibility, and help more visitors – especially young people – discover our nation’s inspiring places and stories,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.
“The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias were included in the original Yosemite Grant in 1864 and are truly the seeds of the National Park idea,” stated Don Neubacher, Yosemite National Park Superintendent. “This restoration project will benefit both the Giant Sequoias and the over four million visitors to the park each year.”
“It’s a remarkable project that will better protect the towering sequoias while allowing visitors to enjoy one of the world’s great natural wonders in a more tranquil, cathedral-like, setting,” said Yosemite Conservancy President Frank Dean.
Yosemite National Park began work on the Mariposa Grove Restoration Project on June 30, 2014, the 150th Anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act. The objectives of the restoration project include restoring giant sequoia and associated wetland habitat, restoring natural hydrology, and building accessible trails through the grove to allow for improved access without impacting the sequoia trees and other sensitive areas.
Other components of the project include construction of a transit hub at the South Entrance of the park, adding shuttle service between the South Entrance and the Lower Grove, and establishing a new pedestrian trail between the South Entrance and the Lower Grove area.