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In 1864, Congress donated Yosemite Valley to California for preservation as a state park. Eight years later, in 1872, Congress reserved the spectacular Yellowstone country in the Wyoming and Montana territories as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people. With no state government there yet to receive and manage it, Yellowstone remained in the custody of the U.S. Department of the Interior as a national park the world's first area so designated.

Congress followed the Yellowstone precedent with other national parks in the 1890s and early 1900s, including Sequoia and Yosemite (California returned Yosemite Valley). So, you can see that of the first areas to be protected by the federal government, two of them are here, in the Sierra Nevada's.

John Muir discovered Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada range at about this time and spent much of his life documenting the wonders of the area. The John Muir trail (now called the Sierra Crest Trail) was the first trail mapped along the entire length of the Sierra Nevada range. John became the first president of the newly formed Sierra Club

Ansel Adams came along later and became famous photographing Yosemite. His vistas, landscapes and waterfalls are some of the best nature photos ever taken.

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Last Update: 9/21/2000

Web Author: The Rainbow Company

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