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Photograph of El Capitan Wreathed in Clouds, Yosemite Valley, by William Henry Jackson, 1898

Photographer William Henry Jackson documented the majestic beauty of the West for the U.S. Geological Survey and the Detroit Publishing Company. The images he created were instrumental in winning congressional and popular support for land preservation.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Photograph of El Capitan Wreathed in Clouds, Yosemite Valley, by William Henry Jackson, 1898

Protecting Natural Resources - 2

The development of the West brought an ever-increasing number of settlers. When resources became depleted or despoiled, voices were raised to preserve the West’s scenic lands and their fragile environments. In 1864, Congress acted. Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias became the first parklands set aside by the federal government. They were initially granted to the state of California and later became a National Park in 1890. Yosemite was made part of the National Park Service when it was established by Congress in 1916.