Don't let this opportunity pass by

Letters to the Editor - 10/10/13 edition

October 8, 2013 

Dear Editor,

Congress should re-open Yosemite, then make it bigger

Right now, we have an opportunity to restore nearly 1,600 acres of land to Yosemite National Park. This parcel protects an important migration route for deer and black bears travelling between Yosemite and adjacent national forests. It's a home for Sierra red foxes, Pacific fishers, great grey owls, and wolverines. Congdon's Lewisia, a rare flower that only grows near the Kings and Merced rivers, is found here.

Expanding Yosemite has no opposition. Indeed, a unanimous bi-partisan coalition of California state legislators passed a resolution supporting the proposal this year, including Yosemite's own Senator Tom Berryhill and Assembly members Frank Bigelow and Kristin Olsen. The landowners, including the non-profit Pacific Forest Trust, want to add their land to Yosemite. The Mariposa County Board of Supervisors, the local government where the land is located, is in unanimous support.

Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Jim Costa introduced legislation to expand Yosemite last spring. Their bills, S. 781 H.R. 1677, are still in committee. With so much happening in Congress, it's going to take an outpouring of public support to give Yosemite the spotlight it deserves and expand our national park. Yosemite supporters can help by contacting their member of Congress.

Yosemite just turned 123, and we're approaching the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's 1864 Yosemite Grant in 2014. Congress should expand Yosemite National Park before these opportunities pass us by. Let's give Yosemite her best birthday present yet.

I serve as the Preservation Advocate for Environment California, a statewide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organization working to protect clean air, clean water, and open space. Learn more at environmentcalifornia.org.

Nathan Weaver, Sacramento

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