Located in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, the park is known for it's spectacular waterfalls, breathtaking valley views, and towering cliffs. However, the valley was almost cleared of its trees due to the Gold Rush in 1851. But Chief Tanaya, of the Awahneechee tribe put up a stiff resistance and eventally fought with the US Army in what came to be known as the Mariposa Wars. Sadly for the Chief and his tribe, they were overwhelmed, captured, and relocated to a reservation, allowing settlers into the valley.
The first settler in the park was Galen Clark who built a small Pioneer Village and eventually a hotel for tourist, as well as a ranch. While Clark saw the potential of the location for business, he also realized that it needed to be preserved so the natural beauty was appreciated without it being destroyed.
During the years that Clark worked on making the park more accessible to visitors, a new proponent for its preservation, John Muir, took a keen interest into the well being of this beautiful valley. Muir was responsible for pushing Congress to pass the Yosemite Act of 1890, which helped, but it wasn't until 1903, when Muir invited then President Teddy Roosevelt out to Yosemite that he achieved his final goal. This was the enactment of the 1906 bill that established Yosemite as the property of the US Government, leading to its eventual status as a US National park under the newly created National Park Service. It might have been the 3rd of the original national parks, but it is the one that sparked the idea of National Parks!
Today the parks 1158 square miles (3000 square KMs) is visited mostly by the most hardy adventurers with the majority of visitors sticking to the 7 square miles (18 square KMs) of the main Yosemite Valley. The annual visitor count has grown to over 4 million per anum, though the fire in August of 2018 curtailed a number of visitors for that year.