The Yosemite National Park is a United States National Park managed by the National Park Service. It spans three counties in the Northern part of the State of California which are Madera, Mariposa and Tuolumne. The park which strides right to the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain is at least one million square miles. There are at least three million visitors that visit the area each year and most of these will spend time in the Yosemite Valley.While about 95 per cent of the area is said to be a desert, it is a haven of granite cliffs, waterfalls, and great biological diversity. Yosemite which is among the least fragmented blocks of the Sierra Nevada was paramount to the area being declared a national park.
There are of the Yosemite has been inhabited for thousands of years by the Native American people of the Mono, Paiute and the Sierra Miwok tribes. By the time the first Europeans reached the area, the Ahwanechee a Native American tribe were the main inhabitants of the area. The region was named the Yosemite National park after the first Europeans reached the area. The number of non indigenous people in the area increased during the middle part of the 19th century when there was the gold rush in California. Due to the extensive exploitation of the area and cries from activists like John Muir, the area was designated a national park in 1890.
The geology of the area is mostly granitic with some evidence of older rocks. Some ten million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and tilted resulting in its gentle slopes. This uplifting and tilting action also resulted to the creation of canyons and ravines. Some one million years ago, snow accumulated in the area into glaciers which resulted in the meadows being moved down. It is estimated that glaciers that formed during the ice age may have reached thicknesses of 4000feet. It is the cutting action of the ice mass as it moved down the slope that is said to be responsible for the sculpted U shape of the valley.
The Yosemite Valley
The Yosemite Valley is the most visited area in the Yosemite National Park. It is a glacial valley that is at least a mile wide and 7.5 miles long. Although this valley forms only about one percent of the entire park, it is the place to which most visitors to the area are drawn. It is located in the western part of the Sierra Nevada Valley. The floor of the valley is at least 4000 feet above sea level and there are a dozen creeks that flow over cliffs onto the valley floor.
Visitors to the valley will first with be greeted by the Tunnel view which is a scenic view of the valley from State route 41. This scenic view has been painted and photographed by the many visitors to the valley. On the western end of the valley are the El Captain Monolith and cathedral rocks. Up to the north are the three brothers which are crests that rise above each other.
The valley is a place of great biodiversity. There are hundreds species of grass as well as insects that have been clearly detected in the area. Vegetation ranges from pine forest to meadows. The majority of the biodiversity are trees, plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
The main river that flows in the valley is the Merced River. 122 miles of the river was designated by the congress in 1987 as a Wild and Scenic river. The aim of this designation was so the river will be preserved in its free flowing state and so the water quality will be preserved. The Merced Plan that was released in 2014 was aimed at improving parking in the area by removing some roads and clearing river banks. By this plan, they hope to increase the number of visitors to the area.
The Yosemite area is simply beautiful and tourists from all over the world have been drawn to this area over the years. There are a lot of activities that can be done in the area and these include hiking, biking, rafting and even trekking. Those who love photography will have a wonderful time year especially if they happen to be in the area when it is covered in snow. Then no visitor should come to the area without enjoying the panoramic view of the tunnel view. There are also interesting things to do in the Yosemite village. There are museums and theaters where you can get to know more about the area. If you need help getting around, there are rangers at the visitors’ center that can help. There are so many outdoor activities such as horseback riding and biking. There are also opportunities for water sports.