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Interactive Exhibits Update Hall for the First Time in 40 Years Thanks to Contributions from Yosemite Fund Donors

Yosemite National Park, Yosemite, Calif., April 13, 2007 – Inside feels like outside at the revamped Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. The nonprofit Yosemite Fund and National Park Service today unveiled a dynamic $1.3 million makeover of the Visitor Center exhibit hall with replicas of massive granite boulders, “kid height” displays on glaciers, and interactive presentations to encourage habitat protection.

“The millions of visitors that start their tour of Yosemite National Park at the Valley Visitor Center now have an experience to understand the scenery,” said Bob Hansen, president of The Yosemite Fund.

The Yosemite Fund, in partnership with the National Park Service, worked for two years to create the new exhibits titled, “Yosemite: The Stories Behind the Scenes.”

“The exhibits focus on creating an understanding of what a great natural treasure we have and the need to be good stewards of park lands,” said Yosemite National Park Deputy Superintendent Kevin Cann. “The new exhibit hall is an example of how contributions to The Yosemite Fund make a huge difference in our efforts to enhance the visitor experience.”

After the ceremony, the Visitor Center was open to the public for their first look at the new exhibits. There is a replica of the base of a giant sequoia to highlight the scale and age of one of the World’s largest and oldest living things. Kids can enter a bear cave or touch layers of a glacier. A life-size bronze statue of John Muir, considered to be the father of the modern conservation movement, pays tribute to this legendary figure in Yosemite’s history. Pullout panels and drawers, and sounds and animation engage visitors about Yosemite’s geology, human history, and artists.

Over the last 20 years, The Yosemite Fund has raised more than $40 million for 200 habitat restoration, trail repair, visitor education and historic preservation projects in the park. Last spring, the organization launched its $13.5 million Campaign for Yosemite’s Trails and in 2005 it completed the $13.5 million restoration of the Lower Yosemite Falls area. The organization also funded projects like the restoration of Olmsted Point, “Spirit of Yosemite” visitor orientation film, Glacier Point Restoration, Happy Isles Nature Center exhibits, and 2,000 bear-proof food lockers.

For more information about The Yosemite Fund, see www.yosemitefund.org or call 1-800-4MYPARK.

Peter Bartelme, The Yosemite Fund, 415-664-1503, 415-999-0579 cell
Scott Gediman, National Park Service, 209-372-0248