Yosemite National Park is one of the most best known National Park sites in the US. In fact, historians suggest that it may have helped to inspire the set up of further parks across the nation. Welcoming millions of visitors across the year, Yosemite is an iconic name in Californian tourism. But how much do you actually know about the park? Here’s 12 interesting facts about Yosemite National Park to help clue you in.
There are thought to be more than 400 different species living in the park. There are mammals, birds, amphibians and more. Some are so rare that a few have only started being spotted again after decades.
Yosemite, which popularising the National Park concept, is in fact only the third-oldest. Despite this, President Abraham Lincoln had already protected the area as a result of its beautiful scenery.
The park is said to be one of the most important spots worldwide for rock climbers. So much so that some believe it to be the original mountaineering retreat, appealing to climbers since the late 19th Century.
There’s a hotel in the park – the Ahwahnee – which was actually used as a hospital to heal and treat the wounded during the Second World War. Since this time, it’s grown to become one of the area’s most popular hotel resorts.
What does ‘yosemite’ actually mean? Translated from native Miwok, it roughly means ‘killer’ – that’s somewhat sinister!
It’s thought that around 20% of all plant species in California can be found in Yosemite.
The park actually came to life through the work of a Scottish naturalist. John Muir is often credited as the brains behind Yosemite, often campaigning to ensure its flora and fauna receive protection. His work led to the park’s initiation in 1890.
Believe it or not, the Winter Olympic Games were almost held at Yosemite. There were huge toboggan runs and rinks built in an effort to appeal to committee officials. However, Lake Placid won the rights to the Games in 1928 instead. However, Yosemite is still seen as a winter sports hotspot for many people.
Yosemite once suffered from a ‘hippie problem’. The 1970s saw things come to a head between hippies loitering in the park, and rangers who were struggling to contain them amid visitor complaints. This led to a full-scale riot, involving tear gas and crowd control – as well as 138 people being arrested.
It’s thought that Native Americans lived in the region for up to 4,000 years. The Ahwaneechee tribe are said to have lived in the region up until the arrival of trappers and Gold Rush opportunists in the 19th Century.
Some of the biggest highlights in the region include the stunning waterfalls. Yosemite Falls, for example, classes as the highest waterfall in the whole of North America. It’s 2,425 feet high, and you can often see snow and ice cascading downwards – it really is that high up!
Mariposa Grove is another popular sight at the park, as it’s home to some truly ancient trees. You’ll find giant sequoias here which are thousands of years old.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Yosemite National Park that we’ve missed? Share them with us in the comments section below!