Sierra National Forest
Sierra National Forest is a U. S. National Forest located on the western slope of central Sierra Nevada in Central California and bounded on the northwest by Yosemite National Park and the south by Kings Canyon National Park; the forest is known for natural resources. Forest headquarters are located in California. There are local ranger district offices in North Prather. Sierra National Forest was the second National Forest created in California and the largest at the time, it covered over six million acres of the Sierra Nevada and was about four times the average area of typical California National Forests. It embraced parts of eight counties from Tuolumne on the north to Kern on the south and Mono and Inyo on the east, its name was descriptive, but when the Sierra was divided into different units this was no longer the case. President Harrison proclaimed the Sierra Forest Reserve on February 14, 1893. Four years the south half became a separate unit and was named Sierra South during the "forest reserves" era.
This designation was dropped after the administrative transition to the National Forests on March 4, 1907. On July 1, 1908, the Sequoia National Forest, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks were established from this south portion of Sierra National Forest. Eastern portions of Sierra National Forest became the Toiyabe National Forests; the first timber sale on a California National Forest took place in the Sierra NF by the General Land Office in 1899. Sierra National Forest covers, in descending order of forestland area, the eastern portions of Fresno and Mariposa counties, adjacent to the southern part of Yosemite National Park, it includes more than 1,300,000 acres, at altitudes ranging from 900 to 13,986 feet in elevation. The terrain includes rolling, oak-covered foothills forested middle elevation slopes and the tundra landscape of the High Sierra; the forest's boundary starts clockwise at the intersections of the Merced River, Sweetwater Creek and HWY 140 moves east following the Merced River canyon to the border with Yosemite National Park near El Portal.
It follows the park's southern boundary till it reaches the Inyo National forest near Electra Peak. From there it travels south to its border with Kings Canyon National Park near Mount Goethe, it follows the park's northern border heads south to the Kings River near Deer Canyon. From there it moves down the Kings River canyon east; when it reaches Pine Flat Lake near Trimmer, it turns north towards Tollhouse and continues on to Auberry. From there Sierra National Forest moves on to North Fork west to form a small finger towards Coarsegold; the boundary travels north to Yosemite Forks and moves west towards Miami Mountain heads north to return to the Merced River. The forest includes a number including Fresno Dome and Nelder Grove. Several reservoirs offer fishing, including Bass Lake, Wishon Reservoir, Courtright Reservoir. There are numerous hiking opportunities in wilderness areas: Ansel Adams, John Muir, Dinkey Lakes and Monarch, it has a ski area, China Peak, that operates under a special use permit.
The Sierra National Forest is located within the Pacific Southwest region of the US Forest Service. The forest is divided into three Ranger Districts: Bass Lake Ranger District is north and west of the San Joaquin River, its Ranger District office is located at 57003 Road 225 North Fork, California, 93643. The district includes 36 camp sites, 17 picnic sites, 7 Off Highway Vehicle Trails, 10 trails, it includes the Forest Service Offices of Oakhurst, the Clover Meadow Wilderness Office. High Sierra Ranger District is east of the San Joaquin River. O. Box 559 Prather, California 93651; this district contains 30 camp sites, 11 picnic sites, 13 Off Highway Vehicle Trails. It includes the following Forest Service Offices. In addition, the forest has a close relationship with the Teakettle Experimental Forest, deep inside the forest and the San Joaquin Experimental Range, just outside the forest boundaries, they both fall in the Pacific Southwest Research Station, based in Berkeley, California. The ecology of the National Forest is typical for the western side of the southern Sierra Nevada: distributions of species are governed by climate, dependent on altitude.
The ecology can be described by biotic zones, which are marked by either a tree indicator species, or by a lack of trees. The biotic zones include the foothill woodland zone from 1,000 to 3,000 feet, the lower montane zone from 3,000 to 7,000 feet, the upper montane zone from 7,000 to 9,000 feet, the subalp
Sierra Nevada (U.S.)
The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Great Basin. The vast majority of the range lies in the state of California, although the Carson Range spur lies in Nevada; the Sierra Nevada is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges that consists of an continuous sequence of such ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica. The Sierra runs 400 miles north-to-south, is 70 miles across east-to-west. Notable Sierra features include the largest alpine lake in North America; the Sierra is home to three national parks, twenty wilderness areas, two national monuments. These areas include Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks; the character of the range is shaped by its ecology. More than one hundred million years ago during the Nevadan orogeny, granite formed deep underground; the range started to uplift four million years ago, erosion by glaciers exposed the granite and formed the light-colored mountains and cliffs that make up the range.
The uplift caused a wide range of elevations and climates in the Sierra Nevada, which are reflected by the presence of five life zones. Uplift continues due to faulting caused by tectonic forces, creating spectacular fault block escarpments along the eastern edge of the southern Sierra; the Sierra Nevada has a significant history. The California Gold Rush occurred in the western foothills from 1848 through 1855. Due to inaccessibility, the range was not explored until 1912; the Sierra Nevada lies in Central and Eastern California, with a small but important spur extending into Nevada. West-to-east, the Sierra Nevada's elevation increases from 1,000 feet in the Central Valley to heights of about 14,000 feet at its crest 50–75 miles to the east; the east slope forms the steep Sierra Escarpment. Unlike its surroundings, the range receives a substantial amount of snowfall and precipitation due to orographic lift; the Sierra Nevada's irregular northern boundary stretches from the Susan River and Fredonyer Pass to the North Fork Feather River.
It represents where the granitic bedrock of the Sierra Nevada dives below the southern extent of Cenozoic igneous surface rock from the Cascade Range. It is bounded on the west by California's Central Valley and on the east by the Basin and Range Province; the southern boundary is at Tehachapi Pass. Physiographically, the Sierra is a section of the Cascade-Sierra Mountains province, which in turn is part of the larger Pacific Mountain System physiographic division; the California Geological Survey states that "the northern Sierra boundary is marked where bedrock disappears under the Cenozoic volcanic cover of the Cascade Range." The range is drained on its western slope by the Central Valley watershed, which discharges into the Pacific Ocean at San Francisco. The northern third of the western Sierra is part of the Sacramento River watershed, the middle third is drained by the San Joaquin River; the southern third of the range is drained by the Kings, Kaweah and Kern rivers, which flow into the endorheic basin of Tulare Lake, which overflows into the San Joaquin during wet years.
The eastern slope watershed of the Sierra is much narrower. From north to south, the Susan River flows into intermittent Honey Lake, the Truckee River flows from Lake Tahoe into Pyramid Lake, the Carson River runs into Carson Sink, the Walker River into Walker Lake. Although none of the eastern rivers reach the sea, many of the streams from Mono Lake southwards are diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct which provides water to Southern California; the height of the mountains in the Sierra Nevada increases from north to south. Between Fredonyer Pass and Lake Tahoe, the peaks range from 5,000 feet to more than 9,000 feet; the crest near Lake Tahoe is 9,000 feet high, with several peaks approaching the height of Freel Peak. Farther south, the highest peak in Yosemite National Park is Mount Lyell; the Sierra rises to 14,000 feet with Mount Humphreys near Bishop, California. Near Lone Pine, Mount Whitney is at 14,505 feet, the highest point in the contiguous United States. South of Mount Whitney, the elevation of the range dwindles.
The crest elevation is 10,000 feet near Lake Isabella, but south of the lake, the peaks reach to only a modest 8,000 feet. There are several notable geographical features in the Sierra Nevada: Lake Tahoe is a large, clear freshwater lake in the northern Sierra Nevada, with an elevation of 6,225 ft and an area of 191 sq mi. Lake Tahoe lies between a spur of the Sierra. Hetch Hetchy Valley, Yosemite Valley, Kings Canyon, Kern Canyon are examples of many glacially-scoured canyons on the west side of the Sierra. Yosemite National Park is filled with notable features such as waterfalls, granite domes, high mountains and meadows. Groves of Giant Sequoia
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is an American national park that straddles the California—Nevada border, east of the Sierra Nevada. The park boundaries include Death Valley, the northern section of Panamint Valley, the southern section of Eureka Valley, most of Saline Valley; the park occupies an interface zone between the arid Great Basin and Mojave deserts, protecting the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and its diverse environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, valleys and mountains. Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48 states, the hottest and lowest of all the national parks in the United States; the second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is in Badwater Basin, 282 feet below sea level. 91% of the park is a designated wilderness area. The park is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment; some examples include creosote bush, bighorn sheep and the Death Valley pupfish, a survivor from much wetter times. UNESCO included Death Valley as the principal feature of its Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve in 1984.
A series of Native American groups inhabited the area from as early as 7000 BC, most the Timbisha around 1000 AD who migrated between winter camps in the valleys and summer grounds in the mountains. A group of European-Americans, trapped in the valley in 1849 while looking for a shortcut to the gold fields of California, gave the valley its name though only one of their group died there. Several short-lived boom towns sprang up during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to mine gold and silver; the only long-term profitable ore to be mined was borax, transported out of the valley with twenty-mule teams. The valley became the subject of books, radio programs, television series, movies. Tourism expanded in the 1920s when resorts were built around Furnace Creek. Death Valley National Monument was declared in 1933 and the park was expanded and became a national park in 1994; the natural environment of the area has been shaped by its geology. The valley is a graben with the oldest rocks being extensively metamorphosed and at least 1.7 billion years old.
Ancient, shallow seas deposited marine sediments until rifting opened the Pacific Ocean. Additional sedimentation occurred; the subduction created a line of volcanoes. The crust started to pull apart, creating the current Basin and Range landform. Valleys filled with sediment and, during the wet times of glacial periods, with lakes, such as Lake Manly. In 2013, Death Valley National Park was designated as a dark sky park by the International Dark-Sky Association. There are two major valleys in Death Valley and Panamint Valley. Both of these valleys were formed within the last few million years and both are bounded by north–south-trending mountain ranges; these and adjacent valleys follow the general trend of Basin and Range topography with one modification: there are parallel strike-slip faults that perpendicularly bound the central extent of Death Valley. The result of this shearing action is additional extension in the central part of Death Valley which causes a slight widening and more subsidence there.
Uplift of surrounding mountain ranges and subsidence of the valley floor are both occurring. The uplift on the Black Mountains is so fast that the alluvial fans there are small and steep compared to the huge alluvial fans coming off the Panamint Range. Fast uplift of a mountain range in an arid environment does not allow its canyons enough time to cut a classic V-shape all the way down to the stream bed. Instead, a V-shape ends at a slot canyon halfway down, forming a'wine glass canyon.' Sediment is deposited on a steep alluvial fan. At 282 feet below sea level at its lowest point, Badwater Basin on Death Valley's floor is the second-lowest depression in the Western Hemisphere, while Mount Whitney, only 85 miles to the west, rises to 14,505 feet; this topographic relief is the greatest elevation gradient in the contiguous United States and is the terminus point of the Great Basin's southwestern drainage. Although the extreme lack of water in the Great Basin makes this distinction of little current practical use, it does mean that in wetter times the lake that once filled Death Valley was the last stop for water flowing in the region, meaning the water there was saturated in dissolved materials.
Thus the salt pans in Death Valley are among the largest in the world and are rich in minerals, such as borax and various salts and hydrates. The largest salt pan in the park extends 40 miles from the Ashford Mill Site to the Salt Creek Hills, covering some 200 square miles of the valley floor; the best known playa in the park is the Racetrack, known for its moving rocks. Death Valley is the hottest and driest place in North America due to its lack of surface water and low relief, it is so the hottest spot in the United States that many tabulations of the highest daily temperatures in the country omit Death Valley as a matter of course. On the afternoon of July 10, 1913, the United States Weather Bureau recorded a high temperature of 134 °F at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley; this temperature stands as the highest ambient air temperature recorded at the surface of the Earth. Daily summer temperatures of 120 °F or greater are common, as well as below freezing nightly temperatur
Fresno County, California
Fresno County the County of Fresno, is a county located in the central portion of the U. S. state of California. As of January 1, 2018, the population was 1,007,229; the county seat is the fifth-largest city in California. Fresno County comprises the Fresno, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, part of the Fresno-Madera, CA Combined Statistical Area, it is located in north of Bakersfield. The area now known as Fresno County was the traditional homeland of Yokuts and Mono peoples, was settled by Spaniards during a search for suitable mission sites. In 1846, this area became part of the United States as a result of the Mexican War. Fresno County was formed in 1856 from parts of Mariposa and Tulare counties. Fresno is Spanish for "ash tree" and it was in recognition of the abundance of the shrubby local Ash, Fraxinus dipetala, growing along the San Joaquin River that it received its name. Parts of Fresno County's territory were given to Mono County in 1861 and to Madera County in 1893; the original county seat was along the San Joaquin River in Millerton, but was moved to the growing town of Fresno on the newly built Southern Pacific Railroad line after a flood destroyed much of the town.
The settling of Fresno County was not without its conflicts, land disputes, other natural disasters. Floods caused immeasurable damage elsewhere and fires plagued the settlers of Fresno County. In 1882, the greatest of the early day fires wiped out an entire block of the city of Fresno, was followed by another devastating blaze in 1883. At the same time residents brought irrigation and extensive agriculture to the area. Moses Church developed the first canals, called "Church Ditches," for irrigation; these canals allowed extensive cultivation of wheat. Francis Eisen, leader of the wine industry in Fresno County began the raisin industry in 1875, when he accidentally let some of his grapes dry on the vine. A. Y. Easterby and Clovis Cole developed extensive grain and cattle ranches; these and other citizens laid the groundwork for the cultivation of Fresno County – now one of the nation's leading agricultural regions. In more recent times cotton became a major crop in Fresno and the southern San Joaquin Valley, but recent drought and lower demand have lessened cotton's importance to the local economy.
The discovery of oil in the western part of the county, near the town of Coalinga at the foot of the Coast Ranges, brought about an economic boom in the 1900s though the field itself was known at least as early as the 1860s. By 1910, Coalinga Oil Field, the largest field in Fresno County, was the most richly productive oil field in California; the Coalinga field continues to produce oil, is the eighth-largest field in the state. More than thirty structures in Fresno County are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Fresno Water Tower, which once held over 250,000 US gallons of water for the city of Fresno, the Meux Home, Kearney Mansion Museum. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 6,011 square miles, of which 5,958 square miles is land and 53 square miles is water. Major watercourses are the San Joaquin River, Kings River, Delta-Mendota Canal, Big Creek, Friant Kern Canal, Helm Canal and Madera Canal, it is bordered on the west on the east by the Sierra Nevada.
It is the center of a large agricultural area, known as the most agriculturally rich county in the United States. The county withdrew 3.7 billion US gallons of fresh water per day in 2000, more than any other county in the United States. Fresno County is part of the Madera AVA wine region. Fresno was named after two particular ash trees that grew near the town of Minkler on the Kings River, one of, still alive and standing. Giant Sequoia National Monument Kings Canyon National Park Sequoia National Forest Sierra National Forest A number of minerals have been discovered in the county, including macdonaldite, walstromite, verplanckite, muirite and kampfite; the 2010 United States Census reported that Fresno County had a population of 930,450. The racial makeup of Fresno County was 515,145 White, 49,523 African American, 15,649 Native American, 89,357 Asian, 1,405 Pacific Islander, 217,085 from other races, 42,286 from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 468,070 persons. 46.0% of Fresno County's population is of Mexican descent.
As of the census of 2000, there were 799,407 people, 252,940 households, 186,669 families residing in the county. The population density was 134 people per square mile. There were 270,767 housing units at an average density of 45 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 54.3% White, 5.3% Black or African American, 1.6% Native American, 8.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 25.9% from other races, 4.7% from two or more races. 44.0% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 7.5% were of German ancestry according to Census 2000. 59.3% spoke English, 31.5% Spanish and 3.1% Hmong as their first language. There were 252,940 households ou
A canyon or gorge is a deep cleft between escarpments or cliffs resulting from weathering and the erosive activity of a river over geologic timescales. Rivers have a natural tendency to cut through underlying surfaces wearing away rock layers as sediments are removed downstream. A river bed will reach a baseline elevation, the same elevation as the body of water into which the river drains; the processes of weathering and erosion will form canyons when the river's headwaters and estuary are at different elevations through regions where softer rock layers are intermingled with harder layers more resistant to weathering. A canyon may refer to a rift between two mountain peaks, such as those in ranges including the Rocky Mountains, the Alps, the Himalayas or the Andes. A river or stream and erosion carve out such splits between mountains. Examples of mountain-type canyons are Provo Canyon in Utah or Yosemite Valley in California's Sierra Nevada. Canyons within mountains, or gorges that have an opening on only one side, are called box canyons.
Slot canyons are narrow canyons that have smooth walls. Steep-sided valleys in the seabed of the continental slope are referred to as submarine canyons. Unlike canyons on land, submarine canyons are thought to be formed by turbidity currents and landslides; the word canyon is Spanish in origin, with the same meaning. The word canyon is used in North America while the words gorge and ravine are used in Europe and Oceania, though gorge and ravine are used in some parts of North America. In the United States, place names use canyon in the southwest and gorge in the northeast, with the rest of the country graduating between these two according to geography. In Canada, a gorge is narrow while a ravine is more open and wooded; the military-derived word defile is used in the United Kingdom. Most canyons were formed by a process of long-time erosion from table-land level; the cliffs form because harder rock strata that are resistant to erosion and weathering remain exposed on the valley walls. Canyons are much more common in arid than in wet areas because physical weathering has a more localized effect in arid zones.
The wind and water from the river combine to erode and cut away less resistant materials such as shales. The freezing and expansion of water serves to help form canyons. Water seeps into cracks between the rocks and freezes, pushing the rocks apart and causing large chunks to break off the canyon walls, in a process known as frost wedging. Canyon walls are formed of resistant sandstones or granite. Sometimes large rivers run through canyons as the result of gradual geological uplift; these are called entrenched rivers, because they are unable to alter their course. In the United States, the Colorado River in the Southwest and the Snake River in the Northwest are two examples of tectonic uplift. Canyons form in areas of limestone rock; as limestone is soluble to a certain extent, cave systems form in the rock. When these collapse, a canyon is left, as in the Mendip Hills in Somerset and Yorkshire Dales in Yorkshire, England. A box canyon is a small canyon, shorter and narrower than a river canyon, with steep walls on three sides, allowing access and egress only through the mouth of the canyon.
Box canyons were used in the western United States as convenient corrals, with their entrances fenced. The definition of "largest canyon" is imprecise, because a canyon can be large by its depth, its length, or the total area of the canyon system; the inaccessibility of the major canyons in the Himalaya contributes to their not being regarded as candidates for the biggest canyon. The definition of "deepest canyon" is imprecise if one includes mountain canyons as well as canyons cut through flat plateaus; the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, along the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Tibet, is regarded by some as the deepest canyon in the world at 5,500 m. It is longer than the Grand Canyon in the United States. Others consider the Kali Gandaki Gorge in midwest Nepal to be the deepest canyon, with a 6400 m difference between the level of the river and the peaks surrounding it. Vying for deepest canyon in the Americas are the Cotahuasi Canyon and Colca Canyon, in southern Peru. Both have been measured at over 3500 m deep.
The Grand Canyon of northern Arizona in the United States, with an average depth of 1,600 m and a volume of 4.17 trillion cubic metres, is one of the world's largest canyons. It was among the 28 finalists of the New7Wonders of Nature worldwide poll; the largest canyon in Africa is the Fish River Canyon in Namibia. In August 2013, the discovery of Greenland's Grand Canyon was reported, based on the analysis of data from Operation IceBridge, it is located under an ice sheet. At 750 kilometres long, it is believed to be the longest canyon in the world; the Capertee Valley in Australia is reported as being the second largest canyon in the world. Some canyons have notable cultural significance. Evidence of early humanoids has been discovered in Africa's Olduvai Gorge. In the southwestern United States, canyons are important archeologically because of the many cliff-dwellings built in such areas by the ancient Pueblo people who were their first inhabitants; the following list contains only the most notable canyons of the world, arranged by continent and country.
Fish River Canyon Blyde Riv
National Wilderness Preservation System
The National Wilderness Preservation System of the United States protects federally managed wilderness areas designated for preservation in their natural condition. Activity on formally designated wilderness areas is coordinated by the National Wilderness Preservation System. Wilderness areas are managed by four federal land management agencies: the National Park Service, the U. S. Forest Service, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management; the term "wilderness" is defined as "an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain" and "an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions." As of 2016, there are 765 designated wilderness areas, totaling 109,129,657 acres, or about 4.5% of the area of the United States. During the 1950s and 1960s, as the American transportation system was on the rise, concern for clean air and water quality began to grow.
A conservation movement began to take place with the intent of establishing designated wilderness areas. Howard Zahniser created the first draft of the Wilderness Act in 1956, it took nine years and 65 rewrites before the Wilderness Act was passed in 1964. The Wilderness Act of 1964, which established the NWPS, was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 3, 1964; the Wilderness Act mandated that the National Park Service, U. S. Forest Service, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service review all federal lands under their jurisdiction for wilderness areas to include in the NWPS; the first national forest wilderness areas were established by the Wilderness Act itself. The Great Swamp in New Jersey became the first National Wildlife Refuge with formally designated wilderness in 1968. Wilderness areas in national parks followed, beginning with the designation of wilderness in part of Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho in 1970. A dramatic spike in acreage added to the wilderness system in 1980 was due in large part to the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on December 2, 1980.
A smaller spike in 1984 came with the passage of many bills establishing national forest wilderness areas identified by the Forest Service's Roadless Area Review and Evaluation process. The Bureau of Land Management was not required to review its lands for inclusion in the NWPS until after October 21, 1976, when the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 was signed into law. Over 200 wilderness areas have been created within Bureau of Land Management administered lands since consisting of 8.71 million acres in September 2015. As of August 2008, a total of 704 separate wilderness areas, encompassing 107,514,938 acres, had become part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. With the passage of the Omnibus Public Lands Act in March 2009, there were 756 wilderness areas; as of September 2015, the system includes 765 wilderness areas totaling 109,129,657 acres. On federal lands in the United States, Congress may designate an area as wilderness under the provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964.
Multiple agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the U. S. Forest Service, are responsible for the submission of new areas that fit the criteria to become wilderness to congress. Congress reviews these cases on a state by state basis and determines which areas and how much land in each area will become part of the WPS. There have been multiple occasions in which congress designated more federal land than had been recommended by the nominating agency. Whereas the Wilderness Act stipulated that a wilderness area must be "administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such a manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness", the Eastern Wilderness Act, which added 16 National Forest areas to the NWPS, allowed for the inclusion of areas, modified by human interference; the Wilderness Act provides criteria for lands being considered for wilderness designation. Though there are some exceptions, the following conditions must be present for an area to be included in the NWPS: the land is under federal ownership and management, the area consists of at least five thousand acres of land, human influence is "substantially unnoticeable," there are opportunities for solitude and recreation, the area possesses "ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, scenic, or historical value."
Wilderness areas are subject to specific management restrictions. During these activities, patrons are asked to abide by the "Leave No Trace" policy; this policy sets guidelines for using the wilderness responsibly, leaving the area as it was before usage. These guidelines include: Packing all trash out of the wilderness, using a stove as opposed to a fire, camping at least 200 feet from trails or water sources, staying on marked trails, keeping group size small; when observed, the "Leave No Trace" ethos ensures that wilderness areas remain untainted by human interaction. In general, the law prohibits logging, mechanized vehicles, road-building, other forms of development in wilderness areas, though pre-existing mining claims and grazing ranges are permitted through grandf
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is an American national park located in the western Sierra Nevada of Central California, bounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. The park is managed by the National Park Service and covers an area of 747,956 acres and sits in four counties: centered in Tuolumne and Mariposa, extending north and east to Mono and south to Madera County. Designated a World Heritage site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, mountains, meadows and biological diversity. 95% of the park is designated wilderness. On average, about 4 million people visit Yosemite each year, most spend the majority of their time in the 7 square miles of Yosemite Valley; the park set a visitation record in 2016, surpassing 5 million visitors for the first time in its history. Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea. Galen Clark and others lobbied to protect Yosemite Valley from development leading to President Abraham Lincoln's signing the Yosemite Grant in 1864.
John Muir led a successful movement to have Congress establish a larger national park by 1890, one which encompassed the valley and its surrounding mountains and forests, paving the way for the National Park System. Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, the park supports a diversity of plants and animals; the park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral and oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, alpine. Of California's 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% are within Yosemite; the park contains suitable habitat for more than 160 rare plants, with rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy. The geology of the Yosemite area is characterized by granitic remnants of older rock. About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and tilted to form its gentle western slopes and the more dramatic eastern slopes.
The uplift increased the steepness of stream and river beds, resulting in the formation of deep, narrow canyons. About one million years ago and ice accumulated, forming glaciers at the higher alpine meadows that moved down the river valleys. Ice thickness in Yosemite Valley may have reached 4,000 feet during the early glacial episode; the downslope movement of the ice masses cut and sculpted the U-shaped valley that attracts so many visitors to its scenic vistas today. The name "Yosemite" referred to the name of a renegade tribe, driven out of the area by the Mariposa Battalion; the area had been called "Ahwahnee" by indigenous people. Yosemite Valley has been inhabited for nearly 3,000 years, although humans may have first visited the area as long as 8,000 to 10,000 years ago; the indigenous natives called themselves the Ahwahnechee, meaning "dwellers in Ahwahnee." They are related to the Northern Mono tribes. Many tribes visited the area to trade, including nearby Central Sierra Miwoks, who lived along the drainage area of the Tuolumne and Stanislaus Rivers.
A major trading route went over Mono Pass and through Bloody Canyon to Mono Lake, just to the east of the Yosemite area. Vegetation and game in the region were similar to that present today; the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century increased travel by European-Americans in the area, causing competition for resources between the regional Paiute and Miwok and the miners and hangers on. In 1851 as part of the Mariposa Wars intended to suppress Native American resistance, United States Army Major Jim Savage led the Mariposa Battalion into the west end of Yosemite Valley, he was pursuing forces of around 200 Ahwahneechee led by Chief Tenaya. Accounts from this battalion were the first well-documented reports of ethnic Europeans entering Yosemite Valley. Attached to Savage's unit was Dr. Lafayette Bunnell, the company physician, who wrote about his awestruck impressions of the valley in The Discovery of the Yosemite. Bunnell is credited with naming Yosemite Valley, based on his interviews with Chief Tenaya.
Bunnell wrote. The Miwok, a neighboring tribe, most white settlers considered the Ahwahneechee to be violent because of their frequent territorial disputes; the Miwok term for the Pai-Ute band was yohhe'meti, meaning "they are killers". Correspondence and articles written by members of the battalion helped to popularize the natural wonders of the Yosemite Valley and the surrounding area. Chief Tenaya and his Ahwahneechee were captured and their village burned; the chief and some others were allowed to return to Yosemite Valley. In the spring of 1852 they attacked a group of eight gold miners, moved east to flee law enforcement. Near Mono Lake, they took refuge with the nearby Mono tribe of Paiute, they stole horses from their hosts and moved away, but the Mono Paiutes tracked down and killed many of the Ahwahneechee, including Chief Tenaya. The Mono Paiute took the survivors as captives back to Mono Lake and absorbed them into the Mono Lake Paiute tribe. After these wars, a number of Native Americans continued to live within the boundaries of Yosemite.
A number of Indians supported the growing tourism industry by worki