The Yosemite Grant

Half  Dome – Yosemite Musing

Abe pauses during the War to sign off.

The source document for all that prevails at Yosemite is the June 30, 1864 agreement between the US Congress and the State of California in regard to the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees. It was signed by Abe Lincoln during the Civil War and enacted by California Governor Frederick F. Low. Below is the first part of the act, dealing with the Valley. Part 2 is similar pertaining to the Mariposa Grove. Verbatim:

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That there shall be, and is hereby, granted to the State of California, the “Cleft,” or “Gorge” in the Granite Peak of the Sierra Nevada Mountain, situated in the County of Mariposa, in the State aforesaid, and the head waters of the Merced River, and known as the Yosemite Valley, with its branches and spurs, in estimated length fifteen miles, and in average width one mile back from the main edge of the precipice, on each side of the valley, with the stipulation, nevertheless, that the said State shall accept this grant upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort and recreation; shall be inalienable for all time; but leases not exceeding ten years may be granted for portions of said premises. All incomes derived from leases of privileges to be expended in the preservation and improvement of the property, or the roads leading thereto; the boundaries to be established at the cost of said State by the United States Surveyor-General of California, whose official plat, when affirmed by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, shall constitute the evidence of the locus, extent and limits of the said Cleft or Gorge; the premises to be managed by the Governor of the State, with eight other Commissioners, to be appointed by the Executive of California, and who shall receive no compensation for their services.”


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I represent what is left of a vanishing race, and that is the pedestrian…. That I am still able to be here, I owe to a keen eye and a nimble pair of legs.  But I know they’ll get me someday.” – Will Rogers

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


One Response to “The Yosemite Grant”

  1. Critique Direct Says:

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