Yosemite Conservancy Provides $12 Million to Yosemite National Park
Funding for Converting a Historic Road Into a New Trail to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Restoring Bee, Butterfly and Hummingbird Habitat, and Studying Species in the Newest Area of the Park Are Among 34 Grants Made in 2017
Yosemite Conservancy is providing $12 million in support to Yosemite National Park for 34 projects in 2017 including building a new trail to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias along a historic stage-coach route, restoring bee, butterfly and hummingbird habitat, and studying species in Ackerson Meadow, the newest area of the park.
“Incredible work is being done in Yosemite to protect habitat and wildlife and to make it an even better experience for visitors through our successful partnership with Yosemite National Park,” said Frank Dean, Yosemite Conservancy president. “Gifts from Yosemite Conservancy donors make this important work possible.” In recent years, the Conservancy has funded 570 completed projects with more than $113 million in grants.
“Yosemite Conservancy’s generous support provides ways for us to protect and learn more about the park’s natural environment so we can be even better stewards of this national treasure,” said Yosemite National Park Acting Superintendent Chip Jenkins.
In 2017, funding is going toward a variety of grants. One grant is funding a new trail to be built from the park’s South Entrance to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Crews will begin converting remnants of the historic Washburn Road, which was built in 1879 as a stage-coach route from Wawona to the Grove, into a trail by building creek-crossing bridges, constructing a new picnic area and repairing walls made by 19th-century Chinese laborers. The new trail is scheduled to open in 2018. Funding for the trail is in addition to the $20 million provided by Conservancy donors as part of a $40 million project to restore the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Yosemite National Park is providing $20 million in support for the restoration project. The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is expected to reopen to the public this fall.
Among the research projects funded is a study of Monarch butterflies, one of the most prolific international migratory animals, and now a candidate for the Endangered Species List, and other pollinators to help determine why their numbers are declining. Funding also will restore bee, hummingbird, butterfly and other pollinators’ meadow habitat in the park that is losing ground to invasive grasses, meadow fragmentation and other factors. Yosemite is a refuge for pollinators, which play an essential role in healthy ecosystems but are experiencing worldwide declines due to habitat loss. As part of a multi-year project, scientists will release more Western pond turtles and red-legged frogs in Yosemite Valley and additional yellow-legged frog populations at alpine lakes to aid efforts to restore those species. Another grant will study species like the great gray owl and willow flycatcher in 400-acre Ackerson Meadow, which became part of Yosemite in 2016 with major support by Yosemite Conservancy donors.
The Conservancy’s arts, cultural and theater programs forge deeper connections with park visitors of all ages to create lasting memories and encourage life-long stewardship. Dozens of accomplished artists teach Yosemite Conservancy’s art workshops. Yosemite Theater performances at the Valley Visitor Center entertain and educate visitors from around the world. Sales from Conservancy bookstores, which sell items like trail maps and educational books and videos, are poured back into Yosemite. At park Wilderness Centers, Conservancy staff provides bear canister rentals and backcountry permits. Yosemite Conservancy Outdoor Adventure programs are a unique way to see, learn about and experience the park, and inspire people to care for one of the world’s natural treasures.