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Unanimous State Legislature Votes to Expand Yosemite National Park


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By: Environment California

SACRAMENTO, June 21, 2013 - The California Assembly unanimously passed a resolution in support of expanding Yosemite National Park, joining a unanimous California Senate. The proposal would add nearly 1,600 acres of soaring, conifer-studded hillsides and alpine meadows to Yosemite. The land was originally part of Yosemite, but Congress stripped its protection in a 1906 concession to industrial interests. The state resolution calls on Congress to remove legal barriers to righting this historic wrong.

"This is a great day for Yosemite," said Nathan Weaver with Environment California. "We applaud work by California's leaders to preserve and strengthen one of the most beautiful places in California and the world."

Yosemite expansion enjoys broad support across California. Authored by Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte) and led through the Assembly by Assemblymember Frank Bigelow (R- O'Neals), the support resolution cleared both houses unanimously. Over 30 legislators joined as co-authors, representing communities as diverse as Bakersfield, Merced, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Redding. The Mariposa County Board of Supervisors supports adding the 1,600 acres to Yosemite, as do the current landowners, Pacific Forest Trust and a partnership of private individuals.

"Every day, more and more Californians are speaking up for expanding Yosemite National Park," commented Weaver. "This is an incredible opportunity to add to Yosemite's majestic beauty."

Congress must formally adjust Yosemite's borders before the National Park Service can buy the land through an existing program. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Representative Jim Costa (D-Fresno) have introduced federal legislation to make the expansion possible, but Congress has yet to advance either bill. If passed, this historic legislation would improve Yosemite in time for the 150th anniversary of the original Yosemite land grant, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Environment California is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. www.environmentcalifornia.org

 

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