Yosemite National Park

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Yosemite National Park is located in the eastern portions of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera counties in east central California, United States. The park covers an area of 761,266 acres or 1,189 square miles (3,081 km) and reaches across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain.

Yosemite is visited by over 3.5 million people each year. Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness. Although not the first designated national park, Yosemite was a focal point in the development of the national park idea, largely owing to the work of people like John Muir and Galen Clark.

Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,000 to 13,114 feet (600 to 4,000 m) and contains five major vegetation zones. Of California's 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% within Yosemite. There are more than 160 rare plants.

About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and then tilted to form its relatively gentle western slopes and the more dramatic eastern slopes. The uplift increased the steepness of stream and river beds, resulting in formation of deep, narrow canyons. About 1 million years ago, snow and ice accumulated, forming glaciers at the higher alpine meadows that moved down the river valleys in the park.

The Merced River, is approximately 112 miles long, flowing from the Sierra Nevada into the Central Valley and the San Joaquin River, which ultimately flows to the Pacific Ocean. It is most well known for its swift and steep course through the southern part of Yosemite National Park, having carved out the world-famous Yosemite Valley. The river's character changes dramatically once it reaches the foothills and the lowlands; it becomes a slow-moving waterway streaming through farmland.

 

 

 

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Yosemite National Park
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