Caring for Giants
To Preserve One of the World's Largest Natural Sequoia Groves, a Team Balanced the Needs of Tourists and Trees
The project was as pressing as it was daunting. Mariposa Grove's 500-plus mature sequoia trees—one of the largest species on the planet—stretch more than 250 feet (76 meters) in the sky, with some trunks topping 30 feet (9.1 meters) in diameter. The oldest are estimated to be nearly 2,000 years old, with a life span of 3,000-plus years. And, each year, more than 3 million tourists flock from all over the world to Yosemite National Park, California, USA, to crane their necks at the cinnamoncolored skyscrapers. Yet the aging infrastructure that made those tourist visits possible—a paved parking lot, road, tram trail and gift shop—threatened the trees' longevity.