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Yosemite National Park – One of the Most Famous World Heritage Site

Yosemite National Park is internationally famous for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. The word Yosemite means “killer” in Miwok language. Yosemite National Park is located in California, US surrounded by Sierra National Forest on southeast and Stanislaus National Forest on the northwest. It is spreaded over an area of an area of 759,620 acres. In order to protect the majestic beauty of the region, President Lincoln signed Yosemite Land Grant in 1864, way before the oldest Yellowstone National Park became the first national park in the World. We will see some more important points about the Park in the below section.

Yosemite National Park - One of the Most Famous World Heritage Site

Yosemite National Park – One of the Most Famous World Heritage Site

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  • The Yosemite valley was discovered by American European settlers in 1851.
  • According to researchers and archaeologists, the valley of Yosemite has been inhabited for nearly 4,000 years, although humans may have first visited the area as long as 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.
  • The Park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
  • Yosemite is home to some of the popular waterfalls including the world’s tallest waterfall at 2,425 feet. Some of the other famous waterfalls are Sentinel falls, Ribbon fall, Horsetail fall, Bridalveil Fall, Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall etc.
  • About 5% of the Park Landforms are metamorphosed volcanic and sedimentary rocks. These rocks are called roof pendants because they were once the roof of the underlying granitic rock.
  • The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is the largest sequoia grove in Yosemite and is home to over 500 mature sequoias. It was first found by Galen Clark and Milton Mann.
  • The park is managed by the National Park Service.
  • One of the famous lake in Yosemite valley is the Mirror Lake. It is famous for its reflections of Half Dome and Mount Watkins when the water level is high enough (in spring).
  • The park witness visitors and tourists inflow from all around the world. Every year around 4 million visitors comes to see the majestic beauty of Yosemite National Park.
  • James Mason Hutchings and Thomas Ayres were known to be the first tourist in the park region in 1855.
  • Yosemite National Park was the only park to bid to host the 1932 Winter Olympics.
  • About 95% of the Park is designated Wilderness.
  • It is one of the few places in US where you can see lunar rainbows and moonbows.
  • The indigenous natives of Yosemite called themselves the Ahwahneechee, meaning “dwellers” in Ahwahnee.
  • The Tuolumne and Merced are the two major river systems along the crest of the Sierra Nevada in the park and have carved river canyons 3,000 to 4,000 feet (910 to 1,220 m) deep.
  • Lyell Glacier is the largest glacier in Yosemite.
  • Glacier Point is the famous point to get the picturesque view of the Yosemite National Park valley.
  • The Park contains five major vegetation zones – chaparral and oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, and alpine.
  • Yosemite has Mediterranean type of climate where most of the precipitation falls during the mild winter, and the other seasons are nearly dry.
  • Yosemite National Park is well know for its diverse flora and fauna. Some of the famous flowers in the region includes Corn lilies, red columbine, fireweed, green gentian, yampah, broad-leaved lupines, dog violets, scarlet monkeyflowers (red) and Lewis’s monkeyflowers (pink).
  • Of California’s 7,000 plant species, approximately 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% are within Yosemite.
  • The Park has suitable habitat for more than 160 rare plant species.
  • Yosemite National Park has more than 130 non-native plant species within its boundaries.
  • The Park also supports 250 species of vertebrates, which include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
  • The wildlife diversity in the Park includes black bear, coyote, raccoon, mountain kingsnake, Gilbert’s skink, white-headed woodpecker, bobcat, river otter, gray fox, red fox, brown creeper, two species of skunk, cougar, spotted owl, and a wide variety of bat species. More on wikipedia.
  • Some of the extinct wildlife from the Park includes the brown bear, California condor, and least Bell’s vireo. There are 37 other species which are currently in the California endangered species list.
  • The most serious threats to Yosemite ecosystem and natural habitat are loss of a natural fire regime, exotic species, air pollution, habitat fragmentation, and climate change.
  • This Park has been a favorite spot for Climbers since 1890s due to the presence of number of geographical rock features.
  • In Yosemite National Park, the phenomenon of frazil Ice is quite popular. This phenomenon basically occurs when ice crystals collect in supercooled, turbulent water. Frazil ice can also be seen at Ribbon Falls, Royal Arches Cascade, Bridalveil Falls and Salmon Creek.
  • The other phenomenon which is also quite popular here along with Frazil Ice is Snow Cone. This Phenomenon occurs when falling water from Yosemite Falls freezes before it hits the ground and piles into a large cone of ice.
  • Firefall is another natural phenomenon which can be witnessed in late Winter. The natural Firefall at Horsetail Fall draws hundreds of photographers from around the world in the month of February.
  • El Capitan is the most prominent granite cliff in the Yosemite valley and is known to be the most popular rock climbing destination in the world due to its year long availability and diverse range of climbing routes.
  • The 3-day camping trip of President Theodore Roosevelt through Yosemite Valley in 1903 led to the existence of five more national parks, 18 national monuments, 55 national bird sanctuaries and wildlife refuges and 150 national forests.
  • Mount Lyell is the highest point in the park, standing at 13,120 feet (4,000 m).
  • The Yosemite National Park has three groves of ancient giant sequoia trees – the Mariposa Grove (200 trees), the Tuolumne Grove (25 trees), and the Merced Grove (20 trees).
  • The high country of Yosemite contains beautiful areas such as Tuolumne Meadows, Dana Meadows, the Clark Range, the Cathedral Range, and the Kuna Crest.
  • Olmsted Point is a famous vista of the northern side of Half Dome over Tioga Pass. It was named after the architect Frederick Law Olmsted who played a critical role in the protection of Yosemite in 1860s.
  • Tenaya Lake which is sometimes referred to as the “Jewel of the High Country” is a popular spot for kayaking, boating, swimming and even sunbathing.
  • Yosemite Museum, constructed in 1925 was the first building constructed as a museum in the national park system.
  • Bridalveil Fall is one of Yosemite’s most iconic waterfalls, probably second only to its big sister, Yosemite Falls. More on Yosemite official website.
  • Ribbon Fall in Yosemite National Park is well known for being the longest single-drop waterfall in North America.
  • The most powerful waterfall in Yosemite National Park is Vernal Fall. It is because unlike Yosemite Fall or Bridalveil Fall, Vernal cannot be viewed from the valley floor. One must get down to the trail to get picturesque view.
  • As of now, there are over 2000 Lakes in Yosemite National Park. At one point of time, the number was over 3000.
  • The Wawona Hotel is one of the most historic hotels in Yosemite National Park.

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