It's the valley everyone knows, loves, and treasures. It's Yosemite, and it turns 150 on Thursday, Nov. 7.
150 YEARS: Honest? What's a century and a half in an epic timeline? A timeline that involves the shaping of granite cliffs and the formation of waterfalls and the growth of very venerable trees thick with time-rich rings? One hundred and fifty years is a blip, a fleeting moment, the merest of glances. But the last century and a half have been important ones, at least to a particular stretch of stunningness located midway-ish up California, plunk in the Sierra. We're talking about Yosemite, of course, which is currently marking the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant.
PROTECTIONS BY THE PRESIDENT: Abraham Lincoln himself signed it, in June 1864, the better to "protect Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove." Call it a wonderful and important bit of foresight, given the fact that millions have enjoyed the peaceful destination ever since. And while it wasn't the first official national park -- that ribbon is pinned on Yellowstone's lapel -- Yosemite's modern history stretches back to even before Yellowstone became the first park in the service. That's a history that's set to be celebrated for several months to come, including in...
SAN FRANCISCO: A gala at city hall is going to get things going (look for a peek at the new Ken Burns Yosemite project, too). But even if you can't make the Nov. 7 gathering, you can pencil in a number of activities and celebrations that are ahead for the 150th. You can visit the "Sequoiascape" inside Fresno Yosemite International Airport or make for the "Yosemite: A Gathering of Spirit" premiere in Los Angeles in December. Happy 150th, Yosemite Grant, and many thanks to you, President Lincoln and all the considerate and forward-looking caretakers of this great park.