BY JASON MARK (SIERRA CLUB) | JUN 24 2020
ON JUNE 30, 1864, Abraham Lincoln sat at his worktable, with its view of the half-finished Washington Monument and the Potomac River, and went through his daily routine of paperwork and correspondence. There were many issues to occupy the president's mind. The Union army had recently been walloped in the Battle of the Wilderness, Congress was debating a sweeping Reconstruction Act, and he had just dismissed his conniving treasury secretary. Among the minor matters on Lincoln's desk was a bill that Congress had just passed with scant debate, the Yosemite Park Act. The law promised to preserve for common enjoyment "the 'Cleft' or 'Gorge' in the Granite Peak of the Sierra Nevada Mountains … known as the Yosemite Valley"
along with the "Mariposa Big Tree Grove" of sequoias. Some 38,000 acres would be "held for public use, resort, and recreation … inalienable for all time."
The president put his pen to paper and brought into being the first landscape-scale public park in history.
Read on with this interesting article on our public lands.
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