Yosemite National Park expands by 400 acres

Yosemite National Park has expanded its western boundaries to include Ackerson Meadow, a vitally important habitat for wildlife.

The spectacular granite cliffs of Yosemite Valley are a famed part of the National Park's diverse landscape. © Mladen Antonov/Staff/Getty

Ackerson Meadow has been added to Yosemite National Park in what is the park’s largest expansion in nearly 70 years, protecting a critical habitat for flora and fauna.

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Yosemite’s meadowlands, although making up only three per cent of the park, could be home to one-third of all plant species found in Yosemite.

In addition, most of the water supplied to San Francisco is filtered by the park’s meadows, including Ackerson Meadow.

“It’s a stunning open meadow surrounded by forest habitat, which supports a wide variety of flora and fauna species and offers new meadow experiences for park visitors,” said Yosemite National Park superintendent Don Neubacher.

Surrounded by pine trees, the meadow – which has historically been used for logging and cattle grazing – is a vital habitat for endangered wildlife such as the great grey owl, North America’s largest owl, which is listed as endangered by California wildlife officials.

The area was purchased jointly from private landowners Robin and Nancy Wainwright by not-for-profit conservation group the Trust for Public Land, Yosemite Conservancy, and anonymous donors for a total of $2.3 million, and then donated by the Trust to the park.

“The generous donation of Ackerson Meadow will preserve critical meadow habitat that is home to a number of state and federally listed protected species,” said Neubacher.

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The original 1890 plans for Yosemite National Park’s boundaries included Ackerson Meadow, and the 2016 expansion to include the meadow finally completes these plans.