Yosemite National Park has a $15 million plan to make Mariposa Grove and its 484 mature giant sequoias a healthier place for the big trees, moving asphalt and structures away from their extensive roots.
Read the draft environmental documents and comment to the National Park Service by May 7.
The plan, which will be funded by the Yosemite Conservancy, is to rip out the lower parking lot and gift shop to get them off the widespread, shallow root system of the giants.
Most parking will be moved two miles away to the South Entrance, where shuttle buses will give visitors a free lift to the trees.
The Park Service wants to kick off the facelift in time to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the grove’s protection in a federal law signed by Abraham Lincoln. The anniversary will be in June 2014.
“It was landmark legislation,” said restoration ecologist Sue Beatty, who is working on the project.
The work here is reminiscent of the makeover in Giant Forest during the 1990s when Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks removed many buildings to protect the trees.
Most of the remaining 75 groves in the world are located in the southern Sierra at Sequoia-Kings or in the Sequoia National Monument. They are considered the world’s largest tree with a life span of more than 2,000 years.
The Mariposa Grove is the largest of Yosemite’s three giant sequoia groves.