Yosemite. A national park spanning roughly 760,000 acres, and a UNESCO natural world heritage site. The park was designated as Yosemite National Park in 1890 because of the conservation efforts of John Muir, and later in 1984 the park was added to the to the world
heritage list because of its unique landscape and biological diversity. Although the park hosts a variety of plant and animal species within there have been issues with the decline and endangerment of the local wildlife. Examples of this include the California Condor and Brown Bears, which has gone extinct within the park. Also, there are the issues of air pollution damaging the environment, and invasive species plaguing the park and its natural wildlife.
Pollution and invasive species aren’t the only issues the park has faced. In 1923 the O’Shaughnessy Dam was constructed as part of the Hetch Hetchy Project, a project which flooded the Hetch Hetchy Valley and delivered the water from the Tuolumne River to San Francisco and the surrounding areas. This project was highly criticized as it flooded the Hetch Hetchy Valley, which is situated in the northwestern portion of Yosemite, and because of its effects on the environment.
Today the park is one of the better known national parks, even while having Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks relatively nearby, and the reason for this is apparent. Yosemite is awe inspiring. It has such a unique environment, and because of its beauty it has been the focus of many conservation efforts. Yosemite is not only looked upon with admiration by the United States, but by the world. Like other natural formations such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Serengeti National Park Yosemite is an example of natural splendor, and considered to be a worthwhile experience worth the effort to traverse and worth the effort put into conservation.
Yosemite also houses some of the largest trees on the planet. The native sequoia trees are nearly comparable to the coastal redwood, another type of tree found in California, in terms of height, and there is also Yosemite Falls, which is the tallest waterfall in North America. Yosemite Falls is one of the parks most popular attractions and is similar in popularity to Half Dome and Glacier Point. Unlike Yosemite Falls though, Half Dome and Glacier Point are both rock formations used as popular hiking sites. Half Dome is 8,842
feet tall and is known for its cliff face, which is the reason for the cliffs name, and the cliff is also the namesake of one of the dormitory building at UC Merced. Glacier point on the other hand is known for its view of Yosemite Valley; standing at 3,214 feet tall, Glacier point is used as a vantage point to see all that Yosemite has to offer ranging from Half Dome, Tenaya Canyon, Clouds Rest, to Little Yosemite Valley.
Yosemite was one of the first national parks. This is due to its sheer magnificence and because of its history. The park is the product of erosion over millions of years, and it is only because of this that the unique landscape of Yosemite was able to be formed. The park is truly unique in this fact, and because of this the park was added to as a World Heritage Site; the park is not only a defining piece of American culture, but also an important heritage site for the world.