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Park Service Says Yosemite Expansion Was Legal

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

(AP) — Federal officials say a U.S. lawmaker was mistaken in claiming Yosemite National Park broke the law by adding its largest amount of land in decades without clearing it through Congress.

National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson said Friday that the 400-acre addition doesn't require approval because the land was donated. He says different standards apply to donations vs. acquisitions using Land and Water Conservation Act funding.

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, says the expansion required congressional approval because of its size and value.

Yosemite officials announced this week that a nonprofit conservation group bought the land for $2.3 million and donated it to the park as wildlife habitat. It marked Yosemite's largest expansion since 1949.

Bishop staffers say the congressman maintains his position and will seek answers.