On June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law legislation enacted by Congress that established Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove as the first protected wild land in the history of the planet.
It wasn’t until that 1890 that the land around the two tracts was designated as Yosemite National Park. Sequoia also became a national park the same year, joining Yellowstone and Mackinac as the United States’ first four national parks.
In 1906, at the urging of California’s most famous woodsman, John Muir, President Theodore Roosevelt and state authorities combined Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove with Yosemite National Park.
About 3.5 million visitors visit Yosemite, according to the NPS.