Location and Values: Yosemite National Park lies in the Sierra Nevada Mountains east of San Francisco in the US State of California. It is an area of unique natural beauty with spectacular scenery derived from repeated glaciations in an area of granite bedrock over millions of years. This has resulted in a concentration of distinctive landscape features, including soaring cliffs, deeply-cut U-shaped valleys, domes, tarns, moraines and free-falling waterfalls. The park covers a range of altitude from 600 to 4,000 metres, and its spectacular scenic attributes are complemented with a diversity of habitats including extensive areas of temperate coniferous forest, groves of giant sequoia, numerous alpine meadows, lakes, and arid high-altitude rock and scree slopes.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s recent Conservation Outlook Assessment the conservation status of this site is considered to be ‘good with some concerns’. The IUCN report notes that ‘the geological features of the site remain intact. Its scenic values also remain mainly preserved; however, increasing visitor use and development have the potential to impact the exceptional natural beauty of the site. The park has the ability to limit visitor use, but external pressure may make it difficult. Without such limits, degradation will occur. Non-native species will also increase over time, and active management will be necessary to stem the influx. But overall, the protection and management system under implementation is adequate and effective and is likely to essentially maintain the site’s values and integrity over the medium-term. Air pollution and climate change remain the most vexing problems because the solution lies outside the park.’
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description