The well-known Yosemite National Park is not just home to towering rocks and pristine bodies of water, it also boasts giant sequoias.
The enchanting forest of larger than life sequoias has been reopened to the public for the first time since 2015. The restoration project, headed by the National Park Service and the Yosemite Conservancy, costs $40 million, with $20 million donated by an environmental group in San Francisco, and the rest provided by the Yosemite officials.
In the Yosemite National Park's Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, people can see over 500 gigantic trees. The redwood coniferous tree is known to be one of the largest living organisms on the planet.
The 4-acre park, situated near Yosemite's southern entrance, has amazed visitors for over 150 years. Sequoias found in one of the country's most famous park date back 2,000 years and reach up to 285 feet tall.
Mariposa Grove Restoration
The restoration project did not only aim to bring back the forest, but also protect it in the years to come. The parking spot in the grove has been removed to make people explore the forest on natural pathways.
To protect the roots and aid the better flow of water to the colossal trees, crews removed asphalt and built 4 miles of trails, which include bridges and boardwalks over sensitive wetland areas of the Mariposa Grove.
The trail will take visitors through the popular California Tunnel Tree and Grizzly Giant, which is one of the biggest sequoias in the grove. It stands 209 feet tall and is around 1,800 years old.
Aside from the new path walks, the project also includes new ways to teach tourists about the history and ecology of the area.
President of the Yosemite Conservancy and former Yosemite ranger Frank Dean said that they wanted to provide a more tranquil experience to the park's visitors.
Dean added that although the trees are very strong, the last thing they want is for it to fail on their watch. The restoration project's goal was to correct the sins of the past.
Instead of taking a drive into the forest, Yosemite visitors are now advised to head over to the Welcome Plaza and take the free shuttle bus ride that runs every 10 minutes from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the summer to reach the Grove Arrival Area.
Yosemite Spokesperson Scott Gediman also reminded visitors of the grove's important history as it was included in the Yosemite Land Grant which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on 1864. It was the first land set for preservation by the government.
As one of the most visited parks in the country, Yosemite gets over a million visitors every year.