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Obama, First President To Visit Yosemite Since JFK

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama land in Atwater Calif. before leaving for Yosemite on Friday, June 17, 2016.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public

UPDATE June 17, 4:05 p.m.: People who live in the town of Atwater lined up Friday to catch a glimpse of President Barack Obama, who's visiting Yosemite National Park this weekend. 

Rebecca Ann Harlan says her mom didn't believe either one of them would get to see a black president in their lifetimes.

"My mom lived to be a 106 and she's been a Democrat all of her life, I thought maybe I could do this for her, let her know I'm still with her, to show that I can get to see a Democratic president for her," says Harlan.

Ferreria says she also wanted to see Obama and his family.

"I think that's what's going to bring a lot of people out here, to see the first family, and I think it's kind of neat," says Stephanie Ferreria, whose husband has a business at the Castle Airport in Atwater. "For me, I teach social studies at a school in Merced, and it's history."

Original Post: President Obama and the First Family are headed to Yosemite this weekend to celebrate the 100th anniversary of America’s national park system.

Air Force One will land in Atwater at the Merced County Castle Airport on Friday. The President will speak in Yosemite on Saturday.

President Obama’s visit to Yosemite will be the first time a sitting U.S. president has come to the park since John F. Kennedy in 1962.

JFKAtYosemite61716P.jpg During Pres. John F. Kennedy's visit to Yosemite National Park in 1962. Yosemite National Park / Courtesy

At 11 a.m. on Saturday the President will give a speech at the Sentinel Bridge on the valley floor.

The park will be open as usual to all visitors, but park officials warn that visitation has increased by over 20 percent from last year and traffic congestion could see delays of up to 2 hours.

The president’s visit will also include some short-term area closures and visitors are urged to enter the park before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. to avoid the traffic.

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