documentary pointed out in beautiful fashion. In one sense, Yosemite is where it all started. In 1864, Abraham Lincoln gave Yosemite Valley to the state of California, with the idea that it be preserved in perpetuity. Later, in 1872, Yellowstone became the first official national park, and Yosemite followed in 1890. The idea of protection and preservation moved forward in fits and starts, with some failures and other hard fought victories. Hetch Hetchy Valley, the second "Yosemite" in the park, was inundated under the waters of a reservoir in 1923. But the ridiculous idea of building a tramway to Glacier Point was stopped cold in the 1970s. The totally crowd-pleasing, but totally unnatural nightly firefall ended in 1968. As I looked through these ghostly pictures of the past, I realized that I've been able to experience the park much as my family did all those years ago. The park has changed, but for the most part the change as been directed towards an appreciation for the natural environment, and not towards profit-making opportunities (although that happens).
If you want to be involved, join the Yosemite Conservancy. Most national parks have a natural history association that fights for the good of the parklands. They deserve your support as well.