Yosemite National Park is located in northern California in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Yosemite National Park was the first state and national park in the United States. Yosemite Park was the first area of land set aside by the US government for preservation and protection. Over 3.5 million people visit Yosemite every year.
The park was named after the American Indian tribe that lived in the area known as the Ahwahneechee Indians. In 1849 there was a gold rush, which brought thousands of non-Indian miners and settlers to the park. In 1864 Abraham Lincoln declared the park "protected" to avoid further damage to the park. Galen Clark was the first designated guardian of Yosemite. Clark used to hike through the park barefoot and were quotes saying "shoes are cruel and silly instruments of torture, at once uncivilized, inhuman and unnecessary."
There are a variety of twenty-seven different trees in the park. California black oak, produce acorns that the Miwok Indians then ground into nutritious flour. The incense cedar grown abundantly throughout the Sierra, while Sequoias grow only in limited number of groves. These incense-cedar trees are often confused with the Giant Sequoias.
Yosemite is known for its Giant Sequoias, which grow in the park. Although the seed for the Giant Sequoia is only the size of a piece of oatmeal, the Sequoias are the biggest living things on the planet. These trees can grow to be 2,500 to 3,000 years old and measure up to 250 to 300 feet above the ground. Sequoias usually die by topping over, not by old age. The oldest Sequoia in the park is known as the Grizzly Giant. The three groves, which the Giant Sequoias can be found, are the Mariposa Grove, the Tuolumne Grove, and the Merced Grove.
The parks 2,425-foot high waterfall is one of the world's tallest waterfalls. The Awahneechee people of Yosemite Valley called the waterfall "Cholock". These people believed the spirits of several witches called the Poloti inhabited the base of the waterfall called the plunge pool.
"An Ahwaneechee folktale describes a woman going to fetch a pail of water from the pool, and drawing it out full of snakes. Later that night, after the woman had trespassed into their territory, the spirits caused the woman's house to be sucked into the pool by a powerful wind, taking the woman and her newborn baby with it. “(Work Cited 3.)
The Half Dome rises nearly 5,000 feet about Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level. It takes most hikers 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back.
Mt.Lyell is Yosemite's highest peak. Mount Lyell is 13,120 feet above sea level. Mount Lyell is named after a 19th century geologist, Charles Lyell. This mountain has the largest glaciers in Yosemite. This glacier is known as Lyell Glacier. This mountain divides the Tuolumne River, Merced, and the Rush Creek.
Glaciers 2000 feet thick flowed through the valley and altered the V shaped to a U shape by carving away at the bottom of the valley. These glaciers left a shiny, flat surface on some of the rocks. The weight of the glaciers cut distant striations in result of sand and small abrasive objects being pressed to the granite. The domes that surround Tenaya Lake show markings of these glaciers.
The entire park covers nearly 1,200 square miles. California has approximately 7,000 known plant species and Yosemite contains twenty percent of those species. Yosemite is home of the rare and endangered Strix Nebulosa(great gray owls), Canis Latrans(coyotes), Mule Deer, Squirrels, Steller's Jay, and the Peregrine Falcon.