History

Yosemite Conservancy has over 90 years of experience preserving and protecting Yosemite National Park for current and future generations. The Conservancy established an early model for many of today’s national park nonprofit partners.

  • The first fundraising organization, 1923
  • The first cooperating association, 1923
  • The first museum in a national park, 1926
  • The first cooperating association to create a modern fundraising program, 1956
  • Today, there are more than 65 national-park cooperating associations, serving the 392 areas of the national park system.

Highlights and Accomplishments

2012

The restoration of the East Beach of Tenaya Lake is completed and includes a new ecologically friendly and accessible trail that has been rerouted away from sensitive wetlands.

2011

Yosemite Conservancy and the National Park Service celebrate the completion of the Campaign for Yosemite Trails, a $13.5 million effort to restore popular hiking trails throughout the park.

2010

The Yosemite Association and The Yosemite Fund reunite on Jan. 1, 2010, to form Yosemite Conservancy.

2009

Half Dome Overlook is redesigned and rehabilitated as part of a major overhaul intended to improve visitors’ first impressions of Yosemite Valley.

2008

The restoration of Tunnel View, one of the park’s most iconic and historic vistas, is completed.

2006

The Campaign for Yosemite Trails is launched, beginning a multiyear effort to restore miles of trails across the park, dramatically improving public access, while restoring adjacent sensitive habitat.

2005

The Campaign for Yosemite Falls sets a new world-class standard for balancing preservation with enhancing the visitor experience. The approach to Lower Yosemite Fall was redesigned to provide better access, while restoring stream banks and eliminating abandoned trails.

2004

The Grinnell Resurvey provides valuable updated data on species distributions and habitat change during the past century.

1999

The Campaign for Yosemite Falls is launched, raising more than $13.5 million to transform the trails and visitor amenities leading to Lower Yosemite Fall.

1997

The Glacier Point restoration is unveiled as an iconic visitor destination.

1995

Yosemite Conservancy partners with the National Park Service to open the Wilderness Center in Yosemite Valley. Backpackers can find trip-planning information and process wilderness reservation requests.

1994

Steel bear-proof food lockers begin to be installed. Today, thousands of bear-proof food lockers have been installed throughout Yosemite, keeping bears healthy and visitors safe.

1990

A corporate volunteer program is created to help with the restoration of black oak woodlands, beginning a strong partnership assisting the National Park Service.

1988

The Yosemite Fund, a predecessor of Yosemite Conservancy, is created as a fundraising entity for Yosemite National Park, with an office established in San Francisco.

1986

A project to reintroduce bighorn sheep into Yosemite’s high country is initiated.

1985

The Yosemite Museum Association changes its name to the Yosemite Association. Key partnerships are established with foundations and corporations, including Chevron, American Savings & Loan, and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.

Volunteers begin assisting the National Park Service at key locations in the park by providing visitors with information to help make the most of visiting Yosemite.

1984

The “Return to Light Campaign” is implemented to raise funds for key elements of the National Park Service 1980 General Management Plan. This ultimately leads to the formation of The Yosemite Fund.

1974

Management of Ostrander Ski Hut begins. This rustic two-story stone structure was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1941 and remains a popular wilderness destination for cross-country skiers.

1971

Outdoor Adventure programs begin to offer workshops in backpacking, writing, art, natural history, photography and more.

1926

The Yosemite Museum opens. Today, it houses the research library, the museum collection, two galleries and National Park Service offices.

1923

The Yosemite Museum Association, a predecessor of Yosemite Conservancy, is formed to administer the private funds raised to build a bigger museum.