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Major Progress Made in Landmark Project to Protect the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park

Public Opening Anticipated in Spring 2018

San Francisco, Calif., October 12, 2017 – Major progress has been made on a landmark project to protect the ancient Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park. The reopening of the grove to the public is anticipated in spring 2018.

“This is the largest protection, restoration and improvement project in park history,” said Yosemite Conservancy President Frank Dean. “Years of careful work are nearing completion to restore ecological balance in the grove and to enhance visitor amenities.”

The Mariposa Grove, near Yosemite’s South Entrance, contains about 500 mature giant sequoias, which are among the largest living things on Earth. In June 2014, work began on a $40 million improvement project for the grove funded by $20 million from the National Park Service and $20 million in private contributions by Yosemite Conservancy donors.

“This ambitious project is reversing damaging impacts and ensuring that future generations will be able to experience the wonder of gazing up at Yosemite’s massive sequoias,” said Dean.

Many of the major project elements are completed. The original parking and visitor facilities have been restored to a natural condition and relocated. The Mariposa Grove Arrival Plaza at the South Entrance is nearly finished, where visitors will park and take shuttles to the grove. Several paved roads have been converted to pedestrian trails and new boardwalks have been built, improving natural water flows to reduce erosion. Final work on some trails, roads and irrigation that lead to the Grizzly Giant and to the upper areas of the grove is scheduled for spring.

While recent plans called for reopening the grove in November, record rainfall and snowfall, along recent fires that closed roads to the grove, shortened the tight time frame during the past year when weather allows for work to be done. Project work is not conducted in winter because of ground conditions. The entrance to the grove is normally closed to the public in winter.

The project was undertaken because the giant sequoias within the grove, trees which can stretch 250 feet high and 30 feet wide, were unintentionally damaged by the heavy human traffic of recent decades. This project helps protect shallow roots so that they will no longer bare the impact of a constant stream of automobiles and pedestrians, and reverse impacts of parking lots, roads and culverts that interfered with the area’s complex hydrology.

About Yosemite Conservancy

Through the support of donors, Yosemite Conservancy provides grants and support to Yosemite National Park to help preserve and protect Yosemite today and for future generations. Work funded by the Conservancy is visible throughout the park in trail rehabilitation, wildlife protection, and habitat restoration. The Conservancy is also dedicated to enhancing the visitor experience and providing a deeper connection to the park through outdoor programs, volunteering, wilderness services, and its bookstores. Thanks to dedicated supporters, the Conservancy has provided more than $113 million in grants to Yosemite National Park. Learn more at yosemite.org or call 415-434-1782.

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Media Contacts:

Yosemite Conservancy: Peter Bartelme 415-664-1503, Jennifer Miller 415-434-1782

October 12, 2017