A new bill seeking traction on the hill would see California’s iconic Yosemite National Park grow in size by another 1,575 acres. Introduced by Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, the legislation authorizes the National Park Service to expand Yosemite’s western boundary with the addition of adjacent parcels in Mariposa County.
About half of the 1,575 acres covered in the bill is owned by the Pacific Forest Trust, an organization dedicated to conserving America’s forest landscapes. They purchased their share of the land seven years ago with the eventual goal of conveying it to Yosemite. Pacific Forest Trust says that the land they would like to see included in Yosemite National Park was part of John Muir’s original proposal for the park. The other half of the land is owned by a consortium of doctors who originally bought the land as an investment with the potential for future development. The Yosemite Expansion Act of 2012 (H.R. 5907) would allow the National Park Service to include this adjacent acreage within Yosemite and is awaiting a companion bill in the Senate.
At 761,266 acres, the current Yosemite National Park is no small fry, but even with that much acreage, it’s still only America’s 17th largest national park, although with 3.5-4 million visitors each year it’s certainly one of the busiest.