Wetlands, a meadow, rolling hills: Those are among the features encompassed in 400 acres of land donated to Yosemite by a nonprofit conservation group who purchased the land from private owners. The tract, known as Ackerson Meadow, is located along the park's western boundary and cost $2.3 million to acquire, in total, according to the Associated Press.
Traditionally used for cattle grazing, the 400 acres will be preserved, representing a welcome addition to the park's existing 747,956 acres. Ackerson Meadow was owned by Robin and Nancy Wainwright, who tell the press they passed up a "few hundred thousand dollars” in selling to the Trust rather than a developer who had a resort in mind. “To have that accessible by everyone, to me, is just a great thing,” Robin Wainwright reportedly said, recalling animals like bears and owls who roamed the area. “It was worth losing a little bit of money for that.”
The expansion is the largest since 1949, and comes shortly after the National Park Service turned 100 years old, as it did on August 25. The $2.3 million sum came from several sources: $1.53 million from the Trust for Public Land, $520,000 from the Yosemite Conservancy, and the rest from anonymous donors. “We are delighted and proud to make this gift to Yosemite and the people of America,” president of the Trust for Public Land Will Rogers told media.
Update: On September 9, the Associated Press and CBS 5 reported that Representative Rob Bishop of Utah, a Republican, raised objections to the new Yosemite land, as congress must approve National Park land additions of more than 200 acres or $750,000. Cool.