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California lawmakers call for expansion of Yosemite National Park

April 19, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy
  • Visitors stop to look, photograph and enjoy the light and scenery of the Yosemite Valley on a cool spring evening.
Visitors stop to look, photograph and enjoy the light and scenery of the… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

SACRAMENTO -- State lawmakers are supporting a proposal to expand Yosemite National Park by 1,600 acres, restoring land stripped of its protection by Congress in 1906.

The state Senate approved a resolution this week that asks the federal government to approve the expansion.

“This is a great day for Yosemite,” said Nathan Weaver, a spokesman for Environment California, which supported the resolution. “We applaud work by California’s leaders to preserve and strengthen Yosemite, one of the world’s most beautiful” parks.

Photos: Springtime in Yosemite Valley

Weaver said the land transfer is supported by the current owners, a partnership of private owners and Pacific Forest Trust, which purchased the property to protect it from developers.

Senate Joint Resolution 5 was introduced by state Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte), whose district includes the park.

"Yosemite National Park is one of the crown jewels in our National Parks System," Berryhill said in a statement after the vote. "For those of us that live in its shadow, it is a not only a source of great pride, it also means jobs. Adding this 1,600-acre area to the Park is the right thing to do, both for the integrity of the Park and Sierra National Forest, as well as to protect the interests and finances of Mariposa County.”

If Congress approves the designation, allowing the property to be considered for purchasing, California groups would have to secure a grant from the federal Land and Conservation Fund, Berryhill said.

The action was supported by Robert Hanna, an advocate for the park system and naturalist John Muir’s great-great-grandson.

"This is an incredible opportunity we have that will no doubt speak to all future generations,” Hanna said. “Like it is for so many others, Yosemite is a special place to me and my family and I look forward to working with everyone to add to its majestic beauty."

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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