Yosemite has three groves of giant sequoias: Mariposa, Merced and Tuolumne Groves. The Mariposa is the largest, most visited and has the most historic significance. As our former governor once said, “A tree is a tree. How many more do you need to look at?’ Well, that was before California had 35 million people and before the US had 300 million. In our increasingly urban lives, these are some trees that especially deserve looking at.
1. Sequoias are the largest things that have ever lived; bigger than blue whales or dinosaurs. Our species missed seeing dinosaurs, but our earthly history overlaps with that of this immense creature -what luck that we don’t merely know them as long-gone fossils, but can encounter them as living, breathing organisms.
2. The Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley were preserved together in 1864, by the US Congress and President Lincoln – the first time in history that a national government preserved land simply because it was beautiful and should be kept that way for all people to come see. Our sequoias were preserved in a park by Uncle Sam 8 years before Yellowstone was established.
3. Every National Park ranger wears the same uniform, from Hawaii to Maine, from Florida to Alaska. On the hatband and the leather belt of every one of these dedicated women and men are embossed sequoia foliage and cones. These symbolize the protection of Mariposa Grove, part of what began the nation’s and the world’s national park movement.
Come and be humbled, look and be inspired.