Yosemite, CA – A plan to restore and improve the health of the largest grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park is moving forward. Yosemite National Park has released the final Environmental Impact Statement for the Restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The plan will get rid of a parking lot, tram ride, and gift shop. Park officials say the project will restore wetlands, reduce noise and add shuttle service to the trees enhancing the experience for visitors.
Park Ranger Scott Gediman says the next step, “We have 30 days to wait and then we sign the record of decision. We’re looking at a ground breaking on June 30th of next year. The project will go in phases. We’ll be constructing new trails. We’ll be putting in the boardwalks for the wetlands and we’ll be doing a lot of work over the next several years.”
Gediman says the ground breaking was planned to coincide with the 150th Anniversary celebrations for the signing of the Yosemite Grant. It was signed into law on June 30, 1864, by President Abraham Lincoln. It marked the first time the federal government set aside land for protection and is considered the birth of the national park idea.
Park officials released these specific projects for the restoration and improvements to the Mariposa Grove:
• Restoring giant sequoia and associated wetland habitat
• Construct a transit hub at the South Entrance which will allow for the relocation of the current parking area from the grove
• Adding shuttle service between the South Entrance and the Lower Grove area during peak use periods
• Building accessible trails through the grove to allow for improved access without impacting the sequoia trees and other sensitive areas
• Restoring natural hydrology and reducing noise by eliminating commercial tram service through the grove
• Establishing a new pedestrian trail between South Entrance and the lower grove area, and several new accessible trails within the grove
Gediman says the Yosemite Conservancy is contributing $20 million in funding for this project.