The National Park Service announced Friday it received $15 million to support dozens of projects, including $1,165,000 to help restore the heralded Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park.
The funds augment other NPS money to help restore the grove, as well as a donation of $20 million by the Yosemite Conservancy to make its restoration possible.
Mariposa Grove, which houses the most giant sequoias in Yosemite and is one of the park’s major tourist draws, was closed in July 2015 after renovation work began June 30, 2014. It is expected to reopen in spring of 2017.
“It’s a remarkable project that will better protect the towering sequoias while allowing visitors to enjoy one of the world’s great natural wonders in a more tranquil, cathedral-like setting,” Yosemite Conservancy President Frank Dean said.
“The Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias were included in the original Yosemite Grant in 1864 and are truly the seeds of the National Park idea,” said Don Neubacher, Yosemite National Park Superintendent. “This restoration project will benefit both the giant sequoias and the over four million visitors to the park each year.”
Officials said the objectives of the restoration project include restoring giant sequoias and associated wetland habitat, restoring natural hydrology, and building accessible trails through the grove to allow for improved access, without impacting the sequoia trees and other sensitive areas.
Other components of the project include construction of a transit hub at the South Entrance of the park, adding shuttle service between the South Entrance and the Lower Grove, and establishing a new pedestrian trail between the South Entrance and the Lower Grove area.
The $15 million will be distributed to 69 projects in 63 National Parks, officials said.