Yosemite National Park celebrates 120 years

September 20, 2010 

Yosemite may have been formed by glaciers millions of years ago, but the national park will celebrate its 120th anniversary next month.

Congress designated Yosemite as the United State's third national park on Oct. 1, 1890, following the 1864 congressional preservation of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The Yosemite Grant was administered by the State of California until 1906, when control of the lands were ceded to the federal government. The first national parks were Yellowstone and Sequoia.

There are no special events scheduled for this year's centivigintennial, but the National Park Service is planning for a large celebration in 2014 as the park celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant. Additionally, the National Park Service will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016.

Yosemite National Park receives approximately 4 million visitors from around the world each year. The park is famous for its waterfalls (Yosemite Falls is the tallest in North America), granite domes, meadows, and high-country lakes. The park encompasses 747,956 acres in the central Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in California, with approximately 95 percent of the park federally designated wilderness.

Yosemite National Park was declared a World Heritage Site on October 31, 1984.

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