The giant sequoias that tower hundreds of feet into the sky inspire more than a million people to visit Yosemite every year. They also inspired President Abraham Lincoln to sign an unprecedented piece of legislation on June 30, 1864, in the midst of the Civil War. The Yosemite Grant protected these Northern California trees, as well as Yosemite Valley, and paved the way for the first U.S. national park.
“This was the first time in the history of the world that a piece of land had been set aside for all people for preservation,” said Yosemite spokesperson Scott Gediman. “It truly is the beginning of the National Park movement, incredibly significant not only for the park, but for California, for the nation and for the world.”