Greetings from Yosemite National Park

My park story begins with an acceptance to the University of California Merced. I’m a first-generation college student and a first-generation park ranger. Wild places have offered me a variety of things. I’ve seen the Milky Way for the first time and cried as I watched others experience it for their first time. I’ve walked through a living giant Sequoia and have had the opportunity to lead others through these marvels. I’ve backpacked, hiked, rock climbed, snowboarded, and so much more. This privilege was granted to me by people who believed that I deserved it, and now I have the opportunity to pay this luxury forward. It is truly life changing to go to a place that has changed so much and yet so little and know that someone a long time ago cared enough about us to make sure we could experience it. At least that’s how I feel when I’m leading a trip to the park or picking up some trash on the trail. For those that have never been to a park, and for those of you who visit when you can, I care about you. I want you to experience these places and feel the love and belonging that I’ve felt here. I hope, someday, you can :)

Sincerely,
Jessica Rivas

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

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