Sometimes, you have to be patient. Sometimes, you have to be really patient. Ackerson Meadow, located just outside the western boundary of Yosemite National Park, was drawn into the original park perimeter. But something–politics, no doubt–bumped it out. Now, 127 years since the park was created and 152 since protections were first wrapped around it, this expanse of forest and wetlands officially belongs to people of the U.S. of A.
It’s the largest expansion of Yosemite since 1949–400 acres that are home to dozens of endangered species. The meadow was purchased from a private couple earlier this year by the Trust for Public Land for $2.3 million and donated to the National Park Service, a Yosemite spokeswoman said.
“It’s a big open meadow surrounded by forest land. We’re very excited. This pristine meadow is going to provide habitat for numerous protected species,” park spokeswoman Jamie Richards said. Among them are two endangered species of owls.
Among the major contributors to the purchase were the nonprofit Yosemite Conservancy, the National Park Trust, and American Rivers.
“Donating the largest addition since 1949 to one of the world’s most famous parks is a great way to celebrate the 100th birthday of our National Park Service — and honor John Muir’s original vision for the park,” said Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Land.
According to the park, the land is especially important because it consists of a meadow. While just three percent of Yosemite National Park is meadows, they are home to some one-third of the plant species found there.
The land was sold by Robin and Nancy Wainwright at a loss of a “few hundred thousand dollars,” but the couple spurned a higher offer from a developer who wanted to build on the meadow. Ackerson has been grazed by cattle off and on for the last century (and been logged), and officials from Tuolumne County opposed the transaction as damaging to local ranchers, even though about a third of the acreage will still be allotted for some grazing.
“Not every property that could be grazed should be grazed,” Rogers told the Wall Street Journal.
Additional reporting by Reuters. Photo by Robb Hirsch/The Trust for Public Land