Environment

Hundreds gather to celebrate Yosemite's 150th anniversary

In this Aug. 27, 2009 photo, giant sequoias dwarf a cabin in the upper Mariposa Grove at Yosemite National Park, Calif.  Yosemite National Park is celebrating the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Yosemite Grant Act, Monday, June 30, 2014, which protected Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove. The event will include a groundbreaking ceremony for a project to restore Mariposa Grove, which consists of 500 mature giant sequoia trees that are among the oldest living organisms in the world. (AP Photo/Mark A. Duncan)
In this Aug. 27, 2009 photo, giant sequoias dwarf a cabin in the upper Mariposa Grove at Yosemite National Park, Calif. Yosemite National Park is celebrating the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Yosemite Grant Act, Monday, June 30, 2014, which protected Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove. The event will include a groundbreaking ceremony for a project to restore Mariposa Grove, which consists of 500 mature giant sequoia trees that are among the oldest living organisms in the world. (AP Photo/Mark A. Duncan) AP

Giant sequoias stood silently Monday morning as they have for centuries as hundreds of people gathered to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln's signature on the Yosemite Land Grant, launching the idea of national parks.

Several congressmen, California's lieutenant governor and National Park Service officials stood amid the ancient trees, praising Lincoln linking for signing the grant 150 years ago.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said: "It should be no surprise it all started here in California."

Park Superintendent Don Neubacher told a few hundred people they were sitting on top of giant sequoia roots.

A few minutes later, sledge hammers pounded the parking lot at Mariposa Grove. And the the $36 million restoration of the grove had begun at the end of a ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of the grant.

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