Abraham Lincoln Signs The Yosemite Valley Grant Act
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Valley Grant Act, Senate Bill 203, on June 30, 1864.
The legislation gave California the Yosemite Valley and the nearby Mariposa Big Tree Grove "upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation."
Influential figures such as Galen Clark, clergyman Thomas Starr King and leading landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted were among those who urged Senator John Conness of California to try to preserve Yosemite. President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill on June 30, 1864 granting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias to the State of California "for public use, resort and recreation," the two tracts "shall be inalienable for all time". This was the first time in history that a federal government had set aside scenic lands simply to protect them and to allow for their enjoyment by all people.