June 30th marks the 158th Anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act. Authorized by Congress and signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864, it was the humble beginnings that established Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove as the first protected wilderness in the country. It also created California’s first State Park, and ultimately led to the creation of America’s National Park System.
In the years that followed, the tireless efforts of conservationist John Muir persuaded the government to protect the surrounding land as well and on October 1, 1890 Yosemite National Park was born. Never one to miss an opportunity to share the beauty and magic of his beloved home in the Sierra, Muir’s eloquent words convinced President Theodore Roosevelt and the state authorities to include Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove within the boundaries of Yosemite National Park and in 1906 it was signed into law.
2022 is the 105th anniversary of the National Park Service, which now includes 423 individual parks covering more than 85 million acres in all 50 states. The National Park Service website along with the Yosemite Conservancy have a wealth of information about the history and preservation of Yosemite. But there’s nothing like sitting on the banks of the Merced River or gazing up at El Capitan to feel the full effect of America’s Best Idea.
June 8th is World Oceans Day – a chance to celebrate the bodies of water that make up 70% of our planet and provide food, recreation and place to rejuvenate the spirit. As home to an estimated 230,000 marine species, our oceans are a vast wilderness with ecosystems critically linked with our own. Unfortunately many of the earth’s inhabitants never see or experience our oceans, yet our impact through pollution and over-fishing has taken its toll.
Organizations such as the The Ocean Project provide a great opportunity to get directly involved in protecting the future of our oceans through personal and community involvement. Working with zoos, aquariums, and conservation groups, they sponsor beach cleanups, educational programs, art contests, film festivals, sustainable seafood events, and other activities that help to raise consciousness of how our lives depend on the oceans and what we can do to keep them healthy long into the future.
The Kalalau Trail along Kauai’s verdant north shore is arguably one of the finest hikes in the world. Originally built in the late 1800’s to link early Hawaiian settlements along the rugged coastline, it is still the only land access to this remote part of the Island.
The trail, which starts at the end of the road at Ke’e Beach, hugs the sheer cliffs along Napali Coast Wilderness State Park and traverses 5 valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach where the pali (Hawaiian for cliffs) create a natural terminus.
Along this mystical journey you pass verdant spires, wander through lush valleys, and are left with the feeling that you’ve truly entered the Lost World (not surprising since both King Kong and Jurassic Park were filmed here).
Whether you cover the entire 11 mile distance and camp at Kalalau Beach or take an afternoon hike to Hanakapi’ai Beach to sample the dense jungle and golden afternoon light, this is the quintessential Na Pali Coast experience.