Yosemite National Park is among the most visited national reserves in the United States. It has mesmerisingly beautiful waterfalls and towering mountains. And just recently it got bigger. By annexing the nearby Ackerson Meadow, Yosemite grew by another 400 acres to the west. The area was bought for the park by conservation group Trust for Public Land (TPL) for US$2.3 million.
Before becoming part of a natural reserve, the Ackerson Meadow was used for logging and for grazing cattle. The area is known to house at least two endangered species, including North America’s largest species of owl.
The land was previously owned by Robin and Nancy Wainwright, who acquired it in 2006. Mr Wainwright said that he received other offers for the land, most notably a lucrative offer from a developer which planned to build a resort on it. But, he says, you can often see bears strolling through the meadow or owls flying over the fields in spring — and he hadn’t wanted that experience to be available only to visitors who could afford to stay in a resort.
“To have that accessible by everyone, to me is just a great thing. It was worth losing a little bit of money for that,” he added.
Park spokesman Scott Gediman said Yosemite’s boundary had seen some minor changes over the years but the addition of Ackerson Meadow was the largest expansion since 1949. He said that the Trust for Public Land had contributed US$1.53m for the purchase, with the rest being covered by the Yosemite Conservancy group and anonymous donors.
So hats off to the Wainwrights — the more people start appreciating what natural parks are worth, the better. We thank all those who invested in preserving a small piece of the planet for the betterment of everyone; man and beast alike.