Approximately 1,500 people attended a ceremony in Yosemite Valley Thursday to commemorate the park’s 125th Anniversary. The ceremony included remarks from Park Superintendent Don Neubacher, a living history portrayal of John Muir, a Native American blessing and songs, and 400 students from the Yosemite area and Central Valley.
The special guest for the day was Ranger Gabriel, who served as the Honorary Chairman of the 125th Anniversary of Yosemite National Park. Gabriel Lavan-Ying, 10, from Gainesville, Florida, became an Honorary National Park Ranger through the Make-A-Wish Foundation in June 2014. This was his third visit to the park.
Other ceremony highlights included resolutions from local, state, and national elected officials, the park’s Mounted Patrol presented the colors, and Grace Flanagan, a sophomore from Mariposa High School sang the national anthem.
There were presentations of artwork from local schools, anniversary cakes, and commemorative posters created for the special occasion. Delaware North, the parks concessioner, and Yosemite Conservancy, the park’s philanthropic partner, also presented checks to the local schools to support many programs.
Yosemite High School’s ASB and Yearbook students also helped celebrate the event with their teacher Tammy Thacker.
“This is a great day as we celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Yosemite National Park,” Neubacher said. “It is wonderful to see all of the students here, who will be preserving and protecting Yosemite National Park for the next 125 years and beyond.”
On Oct. 1, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the legislation creating Yosemite National Park, the nation’s third National Park. The establishment of the park preserved over 1,500 square miles of land including Tuolumne Meadows, the park’s high country, Hetch Hetchy and lands surrounding Yosemite Valley.
The creation of Yosemite National Park added protected land to the existing Yosemite Grant Act of 1864. This landmark law protected Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and was managed by the State of California. Preservation of these lands is generally regarded as the birth of the national park idea. The creation of the park and the Yosemite Grant collectively preserved most of Yosemite National Park as it is known today.