Educational programming, trail maintenance, and even bird studies helped make up the nearly $6 million in projects and programs the Yosemite Conservancy provided Yosemite National Park over the course of the past year.
The contributions are just another example that the National Park Service can't do it all, and that friends groups can play an important role in helping visitors get the most out of the national parks.
“Providing for Yosemite’s future is our passion,” Mike Tollefson, a former Yosemite superintendent who now heads the Conservancy, said during a ceremony Saturday. “Our support focuses on creating unique opportunities for people to connect with park. For some that occurs through restoring hiking trails, meadows and iconic lookouts, while others participate in outdoor education and volunteer programs.”
The annual contribution was delivered by stagecoach at the Pioneer Yosemite History Center in Wawona to Yosemite Superintendent Don Neubacher during the Conservancy’s Fall Gathering celebration.
The donation funded more than 40 project and programs. A $1 million effort supported Youth in Yosemite experiential learning programs that also repaired trails, improved campgrounds, preserved images from Yosemite’s archives, and expanded educational programs and exhibits at Happy Isles Nature Center. Donations also funded projects to restore Carlon Meadow, study Songbird population changes, and open an exhibit at the Yosemite Museum Gallery entitled View & Visitors: The Yosemite Experience in the 19th Century.
Yosemite Conservancy programs provide additional support by enhancing visitor experience through educational programs taught by local experts, Yosemite Art and Theater programs and volunteer work. During the last 12 months, Conservancy volunteers spent nearly 17,000 hours providing information to park visitors and improving meadows, trails and woodlands. Sales from Conservancy bookstores, which sell items like trail maps and education books are poured back into Yosemite.
“These projects and programs would not happen without the support of Yosemite Conservancy,” said Superintendent Neubacher. “The time and resources provided by this organization makes a huge difference in the quality of people’s experience in the park and its natural condition.”
The Conservancy restores trails, protects wildlife through scientific research and habitat restoration, and offers outdoor programs that create a better visitor experience. It has funded more than 300 projects through more than $60 million in grants, organizes educational and volunteer programs, and produces award winning publications. Learn more at www.yosemiteconservancy.org or call 1-800-$-MY-PARK.