In September 2012, my husband and I made a pilgrimage to Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park in California to see the giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum), the biggest trees in the world. This blog post is my virtual tree hug.
Standing among the massive sequoia trees in Mariposa Grove, I could easily understand how this forest became the inspiration for the national park system. Mariposa Grove, near the southern entrance of Yosemite National Park, contains about 500 mature sequoia trees. Giant sequoias are thought to be the largest living things on Earth and are among the oldest, too, some possibly older than 3,000 years.
Only some living specimens of the ancient bristlecone pine are older than the sequoia. Some bristlecone pines, found in the mountains east of Yosemite and at Great Basin National Park in Nevada, are more than 4,600 years old.
Sounds as if I need to plan a trip to see the bristlecone pines, too. I also need to re-visit the coastal redwoods. The tallest tree in the world is the Hyperion, a coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) along the coast of northern California.
I took a lot of photographs of the giant sequoia, but my photographs can’t convey the majesty of these awesome giants. You must visit Yosemite to experience the sequoia yourself! (But humor me and look at my photographs anyway.)
There are three named giant sequoia groves in Yosemite. South of Yosemite, Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park also contain massive sequoia trees.
In the midst of the U.S. Civil War in the early 1860s, many people, concerned about commercial activities in the Yosemite region, pushed the U.S. federal government for protection of the area. The 38th United States Congress passed a park bill, which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on June 30, 1864, creating the Yosemite Grant. This is the first time the U.S. federal government had set aside park land specifically for preservation and public use, setting a precedent for the 1872 creation of Yellowstone as the first national park.
Naturalist John Muir and others lobbied Congress for the Act that created Yosemite National Park on October 1, 1890. The State of California retained Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove. Muir and his Sierra Club continued to lobby the government to unify Yosemite National Park to better protect the area from grazing and logging.
“In May 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt camped with Muir near Glacier Point for three days. On that trip, Muir convinced Roosevelt to take control of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove away from California and return it to the federal government. In 1906, Roosevelt signed a bill that did precisely that,” according to a Wikipedia account.
Here’s a collage of some of my Yosemite National Park photographs.