One-hundred-fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act, preserving the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove. The anniversary was celebrated Monday with a project to protect the giant sequoias.
Any visitor to the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias might not notice the 2,000 year old trees are threatened. But the roots of the ancient trees stretch out near the surface for more than 200 feet. Parking lots sit right on top of them. Don Neubacher, Superintendent of Yosemite National Park, says that puts stress on the trees.
“So the runoff from these parking lots is not getting down to the roots, its being channeled into certain areas, all the wetlands have been interrupted so the natural flow of water which these trees really depend on have been altered dramatically, so their long-term health is definitely at risk.”
A $36 million project will remove the parking lots and paved road segments within the grove. The roads will be replaced with pedestrian trails. The Yosemite Conservancy provided $20 million for the project. It should be complete by 2016.