YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — Sue Beatty stood underneath the towering giant sequoias of the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park this week, but instead of looking up, she focused on a trickling creek and moist grasses underneath the massive trunks. The vegetation and fresh water, said the park’s restoration ecologist, are the lifeblood of the fabled grove, the crowning achievement of the just-completed three-year, $40 million restoration that is supposed to protect nearly 500 ancient trees from tourists, car exhaust and too much love. Burbling water, willows, sedges, dogwoods, lupine and flowering rhododendrons are what people will see amid the trees instead of the gift shop, people-moving trams and 3-acre, 115-space parking lot that were taken out during the restoration. The new configuration replaced asphalt around the famed Texas Tree with a small path connecting to a half-mile wheelchair-accessible loop trail. In all, 4 acres of sequoia habitat was restored; 4 miles of trail was built; nearly 1½ acres, or 20,500 feet, of asphalt was removed; and 600 feet of boardwalk and bridges was installed. “There’s actually groundwater that comes this way and goes under the boardwalk and replenishes the area,” said Beatty, as she stood on the raised wooden… Read full this story
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