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The Yosemite

Appendix A
Legislation About the Yosemite


In the year 1864, Congress passed the following act:--

ACT OF JUNE 30, 1864 (13 STAT., 325).

An Act Authorizing a grant to the State of California of the "Yo-Semite Valley," and of the land embracing the "Mariposa Big Tree Grove."

"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That there shall be, and is hereby, granted to the State of California, the 'Cleft' or 'Gorge' in the Granite Peak of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, situated in the county of Mariposa, in the State aforesaid, and the headwaters of the Merced River, and known as the Yosemite Valley, with its branches and spurs, in estimated length fifteen miles, and in average width one mile back from the main edge of the precipice, on each side of the Valley, with the stipulation, nevertheless, that the said State shall accept this grant upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation; shall be inalienable for all time; but leases not exceeding ten years may be granted for portions of said premises. All incomes derived from leases of privileges to be expended in the preservation and improvement of the property, or the roads leading thereto; the boundaries to be established at the cost of said State by the United States Surveyor-General of California, whose official plat, when affirmed by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, shall constitute the evidence of the locus, extent, and limits of the said Cleft or Gorge; the premises to be managed by the Governor of the State, with eight other Commissioners, to be appointed by the Executive of California, and who shall receive no compensation for their services.

"Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That there shall likewise be, and there is hereby, granted to the said State of California, the tracts embracing what is known as the 'Mariposa Big Tree Grove,' not to exceed the area of four sections, and to be taken in legal subdivisions of one-quarter section each, with the like stipulations as expressed in the first section of this Act as to the State's acceptance, with like conditions as in the first section of this Act as to inalienability, yet with the same lease privileges; the income to be expended in the preservation, improvement, and protection of the property, the premises to be managed by Commissioners, as stipulated in the first section of this Act, and to be taken in legal subdivisions as aforesaid; and the official plat of the United States Surveyor-General, when affirmed by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, to be the evidence of the locus of the said Mariposa Big Tree Grove."

This important act was approved by the President, June 30, 1864, and shortly after the Governor of California, F. F. Low, issued a proclamation taking possession of the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa grove of Big Trees, in the name and on behalf of the State, appointing commissioners to manage them, and warning all persons against trespassing or settling there without authority, and especially forbidding the cutting of timber and other injurious acts.

The first Board of Commissioners were F. Law Olmsted, J. D. Whitney, William Ashburner, I. W. Raymond, E. S. Holden, Alexander Deering, George W. Coulter, and Galen Clark.

ACT OF OCTOBER 1, 1890 (26 STAT., 650).

[Footnote: Sections 1 and 2 of this act pertain to the Yosemite National Park, while section 3 sets apart General Grant National Park, and also a portion of Sequoia National Park.]

An Act To set apart certain tracts of land in the State of California as forest reservations.

"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the tracts of land in the State of California known as described as follows: Commencing at the northwest corner of township two north, range nineteen east Mount Diablo meridian, thence eastwardly on the line between townships two and three north, ranges twenty-four and twenty-five east; thence southwardly on the line between ranges twenty-four and twenty-five east to the Mount Diablo base line; thence eastwardly on said base line to the corner to township one south, ranges twenty-five and twenty-six east; thence southwardly on the line between ranges twenty-five and twenty-six east to the southeast corner of township two south, range twenty-five east; thence eastwardly on the line between townships two and three south, range twenty-six east to the corner to townships two and three south, ranges twenty-six and twenty-seven east; thence southwardly on the line between ranges twenty-six and twenty-seven east to the first standard parallel south; thence westwardly on the first standard parallel south to the southwest corner of township four south, range nineteen east; thence northwardly on the line between ranges eighteen and nineteen east to the northwest corner of township two south, range nineteen east; thence westwardly on the line between townships one and two south to the southwest corner of township one south, range nineteen east; thence northwardly on the line between ranges eighteen and nineteen east to the northwest corner of township two north, range nineteen east, the place of beginning, are hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and set apart as reserved forest lands; and all persons who shall locate or settle upon, or occupy the same or any part thereof, except as hereinafter provided, shall be considered trespassers and removed therefrom: Provided, however, That nothing in this act shall be construed as in anywise affecting the grant of lands made to the State of California by virtue of the act entitled, 'An act authorizing a grant to the State of California of the Yosemite Valley, and of the land embracing the Mariposa Big-Tree Grove,' appeared June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and sixty-four; or as affecting any bona-fide entry of land made within the limits above described under any law of the United States prior to the approval of this act.

"Sec. 2. That said reservation shall be under the exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior, whose duty it shall be, as soon as practicable, to make and publish such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary or proper for the care and management of the same. Such regulations shall provide for the preservation from injury of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders within said reservation, and their retention in their natural condition. The Secretary may, in his discretion, grant leases for building purposes for terms not exceeding ten years of small parcels of ground not exceeding five acres; at such places in said reservation as shall require the erection of buildings for the accommodation of visitors; all of the proceeds of said leases and other revenues that may be derived from any source connected with said reservation to be expended under his direction in the management of the same and the construction of roads and paths therein. He shall provide against the wanton destruction of the fish, and game found within said reservation, and against their capture or destruction, for the purposes of merchandise or profit. He shall also cause all persons trespassing upon the same after the passage of this act to be removed therefrom, and, generally, shall be authorized to take all such measures as shall be necessary or proper to fully carry out the objects and purposes of this act.

"Sec. 3. There shall also be and is hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and shall be set apart as reserved forest lands, as herein before provided, and subject to all the limitations and provisions herein contained, the following additional lands, to wit: Township seventeen south, range thirty east of the Mount Diablo meridian, excepting sections thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three, and thirty-four of said township, included in a previous bill. And there is also reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and set apart as forest lands, subject to like limitations, conditions, and provisions, all of townships fifteen and sixteen south, of ranges twenty-nine and thirty east of the Mount Diablo meridian. And there is also hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United states, and set apart as reserved forest lands under like limitations, restrictions, and provisions, sections five and six in township fourteen south, range twenty-eight east of Mount Diablo meridian, and also sections thirty-one and thirty-two of township thirteen south, range twenty-eight east of the same meridian. Nothing in this act shall authorize rules or contracts touching the protection and improvement of said reservations, beyond the sums that may be received by the Secretary of the Interior under the foregoing provisions, or authorize any charge against the Treasury of the United States."

ACT OF THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, APPROVED MARCH 3, 1905.

"Sec. 1. The State of California does hereby recede and regrant unto the United States of America the 'cleft' or 'gorge' in the granite peak of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, situated in the county of Mariposa, State of California, and the headwaters of the Merced River, and known as the Yosemite Valley, with its branches and spurs, granted unto the State of California in trust for public use, resort, and recreation by the act of Congress entitled, 'An act authorizing a grant to the State of California of the Yosemite Valley and of the land embracing the Mariposa Big Tree Grove,' approved June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and sixty-four; and the State of California does hereby relinquish unto the United States of America and resign the trusts created and granted by the said act of Congress.

"Sec. 2. The State of California does hereby recede and regrant unto the United States of America the tracts embracing what is known as the 'Mariposa Big Tree Grove,' planted unto the State of California in trust for public use, resort, and recreation by the act of Congress referred to in section one of this act, and the State of California does hereby relinquish unto the United States of America and resign the trusts created and granted by the said act of Congress.

"Sec. 3. This act shall take effect from and after acceptance by the United States of America of the recessions and regrants herein made thereby forever releasing the State of California from further cost of maintaining the said premises, the same to be held for all time by the United States of America for public use, resort, and recreation and imposing on the United States of America the cost of maintaining the same as a national park: Provided, however, That the recession and regrant hereby made shall not affect vested rights and interests of third persons."


The Yosemite - Table of Contents | Chapter 16 | Appendix A | Appendix B


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