Yosemite Fund Provides Nearly $6 Million For Yosemite National Park Improvements

The view of Half Dome from an overlook along Big Oak Flat Road is more enjoyable thanks to $800,000 the Yosemite Fund spent to upgrade the Half Dome Overlook. This shot from a slightly different perspective was taken by Owen Hoffman.

It's well-known that the National Park Service doesn't have all the funding it needs to protect the national parks. That's why contributions, such as the $5.8 million check the Yosemite Fund handed over to Yosemite National Park officials the other day, are so important.

“People care deeply about preserving Yosemite,” said Mike Tollefson, the Fund's president, and a former Yosemite superintendent. “Without help from our generous donors, many of these projects would not be possible.”

Last Saturday the Fund presented that $5.8 million check to Acting Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga, at the Fund’s Donors Day event in Wawona. Donors paid for 56 projects in 2009 to improve the park. The Fund’s signature project this year was the $800,000 rehabilitation of the Half Dome Overlook, which improved vehicle and pedestrian access, educational signage and viewing terraces, and protected natural habitat.

Donors also funded projects to restore Wawona Meadow, repair the Red Peak Pass backcountry trail and Valley Loop trail, protect Peregrine Falcons and restore amphitheaters near several Valley campgrounds.

“Visitors to Yosemite are surrounded by Fund-sponsored projects,” said Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. “The Fund is great way for donors to make a lasting difference for today’s visitors and for future generations.”

Since 1988, The Yosemite Fund has granted more than $55 million for more than 300 projects in Yosemite. Fund donors include individuals, foundations and corporations – people who have a real love for Yosemite.

“Donors to the park share the same belief in the power of nature to restore and inspire, and the fear that something precious will be lost if these special places aren’t protected,” added Mr. Tollefson.

The fine print: The Yosemite Fund is a nonprofit organization that provides broad-based private funding and resources for projects that preserve, protect or enhance Yosemite National Park. Contributors provide a margin of excellence in Yosemite, extending a long-standing tradition of private philanthropy in National Parks. Results of the Fund’s work on major projects can be seen most notably at the approach to lower Yosemite Falls ($13.5 million), Glacier Point ($4 million), Happy Isles ($2 million) and Olmstead Point ($1.2 million).