Yosemite National Park is a US national park in California. Stanislaus National Forest and the Sierra National Forest border it on the southeast and northwest, respectively. The park is administered by the National Park Service, with a land area of 759,620 acres, and is spread across four counties: Tuolumne, Mariposa, Mono, and Madera. It is mostly located in these two counties. Internationally renowned for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, crystal-clear streams, enormous sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological variety, Yosemite was named a World Heritage Site in 1984. The park has a wilderness designation for over 95% of its area. A variety of plants and animals can be found in Yosemite, which is one of the Sierra Nevada’s largest and least fragmented habitat blocks.
Granite rocks and the remains of earlier rocks are the defining features of the geology of the Yosemite region. The Sierra Nevada was raised and inclined roughly 10 million years ago to create its distinctive slopes, which enhanced the steepness of stream and river beds and led to the construction of deep, narrow canyons. A million years ago, glaciers began to form at higher elevations. They chiseled and sculpted the U-shaped valley that is now so well-known among tourists for its stunning views as they melted and flowed downslope.
In 1851, the first European American inhabitants arrived in Yosemite Valley. Although James D. Savage is credited for finding the region that is today known as Yosemite National Park, there are earlier occurrences of other people accessing the Valley. Yosemite Valley and the surrounding area had been inhabited for about 4,000 years, despite the fact that Savage and other white men claimed to have discovered the area. However, humans may have first visited the area 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.
Yosemite was essential in the creation of the concept of national parks. The Yosemite Grant of 1864, which declared Yosemite a federally preserved territory, was signed by President Abraham Lincoln as a result of lobbying by Galen Clark and others to save Yosemite Valley from development. Yosemite Valley and its surroundings did not become a National Park until 1890, thanks to a successful campaign headed by John Muir. The National Park System was made possible in part by this. Currently, Yosemite receives roughly four million people annually, the bulk of whom stay in the seven square miles (18 km2) of Yosemite Valley. In 2016, the park’s visitor count surpassed five million for the first time in its history. Of 2020, the park began requiring reservations to enter the park during peak hours due to the surge in visitors.