Greetings from Yosemite National Park

My story begins not in a national park, but in the backyard of my childhood home. For as long as I can remember, my parents have loved to garden, so naturally I spent a good deal of my childhood outside playing with bugs and watching plants grow. Those experiences eventually developed into a deep fascination with the natural world that led me into the heart of the Yosemite wilderness on my first ever backpacking trip. After more than 50 miles of sweat, dirt, aching hips, sore muscles, pooping-in-the-woods anxiety, and homesickness, I was nearly convinced that I never wanted to backpack again. But on the last night of our trip, when we were camped near Lower Cathedral Lake, I decided to brave a night sleeping outside my tent. At some point in the night I woke up to the moon rising over the mountains; its soft silvery light illuminating the granite peaks and reflecting on the lake below. In that moment, I fell in love and never looked back.

Three years later I was fortunate enough to land a summer job with the Yosemite Wilderness Division, and every summer since I have been blessed to call Yosemite my home. Working in a national park has allowed me to explore some of the most stunningly gorgeous terrain in the world. It’s given me the opportunity to discover self-confidence and achieve levels of independence, happiness, and inner-peace that I wouldn’t have otherwise known existed. And best of all, as an employee of the National Park Service, I’ve had countless opportunities to share a place that I love so completely with other people.

Sincerely,
Aricia

Yosemite National Park

With its sculpted granite rock formations, its towering ancient sequoia trees, and its spectacular waterfalls, it's no wonder Yosemite is one of the most celebrated national parks in the world. Emerging from the park’s famous Tunnel View is a transformative experience, showcasing the jaw-dropping, iconic sight of El Capitan rising from the valley floor with Bridalveil Falls plummeting from the rock and Half Dome shining in the background. The park also features meadows and streams, historic buildings, and vast wilderness.

State(s): California

Established: 1890

“humans need nature--both physically and spiritually. Ecosystem services provide us with things like clean water, clean air, food, and suitable places to live, and the natural ecosystems that provide those services can be sources of inspiration or places of healing, discovery, and growth. National parks preserve these special places so that we, and all of the generations that follow, may always enjoy them.”

National parks represent the best of America. Why do you care about protecting and preserving them? Tell us why parks matter to you!

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