15 Beautiful Reader-Submitted Photos Celebrate Yosemite on Its 150th Birthday
To celebrate the park’s enduring beauty, check out some incredible Yosemite pictures from our photo contests
150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act, setting aside a vast swath of land in eastern and central California to become Yosemite National Park. In doing so, he ensured the preservation of the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias—and helped launch the national parks movement, setting precedent for the public preservation of natural spaces. To celebrate the park's 150 anniversary, Yosemite will host a panoply of events all year long, including a project to restore Mariposa Grove, which includes 500 mature giant sequoias—some of the oldest organisms on Earth.
Obviously, the best way to experience the beauty of the park is to visit—Yosemite receives around 3.7 million visitors annually, and park officials estimate that number will increase this year due to the anniversary activities. But if you can't make it out to California to enjoy the park's natural wonders for yourself, we've pulled together 15 beautiful images, submitted by Smithsonian.com readers to our annual photo contests, to help you experience the majesty of Yosemite from wherever you might be.