The Yosemite Fund and the Yosemite Association, which late last year announced their plans to combine operations, are now operating under the name of the Yosemite Conservancy.
“Providing for Yosemite’s future is our passion,” said Mike Tollefson, a former superintendent of Yosemite National Park who now is president of Yosemite Conservancy. “This is now the only philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to the protection and preservation of Yosemite National Park and enhancement of the visitor experience.”
The organization was created following the merger between the Yosemite Association and The Yosemite Fund, two nonprofits with more than 100 years of combined experience to support the park.
“Yosemite Conservancy offers people the opportunity to form enduring connections with Yosemite through its many unique programs," said Yosemite Superintendent Don Neubacher. "Support of the Conservancy funds trail repairs, habitat restoration, outdoor programs, volunteering, scientific research, and other essential works that might otherwise not happen.”
Mr. Tollefson highlighted a $1 million effort to support Youth in Yosemite programs as an example of the broad reach of the new organization to preserve, protect and enhance the visitor experience. Funding for Youth in Yosemite programs goes to repair trails, improve campgrounds, preserve images from Yosemite’s archives, and expand educational programs and exhibits. More than 40 projects and a variety of outdoor, volunteer and arts programs are planned in 2010.
Yosemite Conservancy works closely with the National Park Service to implement its work.
Mr. Tollefson said the merger creates a larger and stronger base of park supporters, adds expertise and resources to improve overall capabilities, and expands opportunities for supporters to participate in park programs. The merger was completed in January 2010 and the two groups began the process of creating Yosemite Conservancy.
The Yosemite Association was established in 1923 as the nation's first “cooperating association” with the National Park Service and has been offering outdoor programs, volunteering and a wealth of visitor services. Since 1988, the Yosemite Fund has focused on major trail and other rehabilitation projects, habitat restoration, and scientific research raising more than $55 million for 300 projects in the park such the restoring the approach to Yosemite Falls, improving 100 miles of trails in the park, and protecting threatened bighorn sheep.
“We knew that as partners we were achieving great things in the park every year, but we also recognized that together we could do so much more,” said Mr. Tollefson. “Yosemite Conservancy aims at creating new benchmarks in innovation and quality with every project that it completes. Large or small, every project will set a new standard of excellence.”
He said the best place to contribute and learn more is at www.YosemiteConservancy.org or by calling 1-800-4-My-Park.