Yosemite National Park (1984)
United States of America

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United Nations (New York) 2003. Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park lies in the heart of California. With its 'hanging' valleys, many waterfalls, cirque lakes, polished domes, moraines and U-shaped valleys, it provides an excellent overview of all kinds of granite relief fashioned by glaciation. At 600–4,000 m, a great variety of flora and fauna can also be found here. 

  • United Nations (New York) 2003. Yosemite National Park. 
Millions of years ago the crust of the earth rose up and created the Sierra Nevada Range and the Yosemite Valley. The Merced River carved the valley into a deep V-shape. During the Ice Age, glaciers widened and deepened the valley until it became U-shaped.  Glaciers also created hanging valleys out of the tributaries of the Merced River, and spectacular waterfalls descend from these valleys. 

The last glaciers of the Ice Age, which receded about 10,000 years ago, left a dam of broken rock that led to the formation of a lake. 

Eventually, silt which washed down from mountain streams filled the lake and transformed it into a broad valley. 

  • USA 1934. Yosemite National Park, El Capitan. 

USA 1934. Yosemite National Park. El Capitan.

Prior to the 19th century, the primary residents of this area of the Sierra Nevada were Native American Ahwahneechees, or Mono Paiutes. During the 1830s, explorers led by Captain Joseph R. Walker may have entered the Yosemite area. 

USA 2006. Air Post. Yosemite National Park, California.

Miners began exploring the valley in 1849. In 1851 a volunteer militia of miners, guided by the Miwoks, battled the Ahwahneechees. Tourists first came to Yosemite during the mid-1850s and publicized the valley’s beauty. 

Public interest in preserving Yosemite in its natural state increased. In 1864 Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of sequoias were granted to the state of California by President Abraham Lincoln. 

  • USA 2006. Air Post. Yosemite National Park, California. 

In 1890, largely through the efforts of American naturalist John Muir (1838-1914), Yosemite became a national park. 

Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove, which were not included in the original national park, were given back to the federal government in 1906 and added to Yosemite National Park. 

  • USA 1978. Giant Sequoia, an endemic tree of Yosemite National Park. 
  • USA 1964. Naturalist John Muir, on the background of Redwood Forest. 

USA 1978. Giant Sequoia

USA 1964. John Muir, American naturalist.

Sources and links: 

Below are some highly recommended links, submitted by R. Dandridge, a Yosemite-Mono Lake Paiute Indian, and published here for my visitors' pleasure. They give an exclusive insight in the way of life of the Yosemite Indians. Enjoy :-)

Other World Heritage Sites in USA (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section United States for further information about such sites. 


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Revised 03 aug 2006  
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