NEW – Yosemite Quarter

Last week on July 29, the US Mint held an event at Yosemite’s Valley Visitor Center to announce the Yosemite Park quarter dollar as the third in the America the Beautiful series. Director Moy of the US Mint was joined by Don Neubacher, Superintendent of Yosemite National Park, Kevin Cann, Chairman of Mariposa County Board of Supervisors and Tom Bopp, Cultural Historian.

Just look at the beauty of El Capitan on the new quarter:

Yosemite quarter dollar 2010

Did you know Yosemite means “among them are killers?” The word comes from the American Indian language and described the Ahwahneechee people.

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill granting Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove to the state of California. With help from John Muir and others, Yosemite officially became a national park on October 1, 1890. Now, 120 years later with over 3.5 million visitors each year, 95% of the park remains wild and free.

The new quarter includes one of the parks icons, El Capitan. From the National Park Service’s web site, “El Capitan is a favorite for experienced rock climbers. Rising more than 3,000 feet above the Valley floor, it is the largest monolith of granite in the world. El Capitan is opposite Bridalveil Fall and is best seen from the roads in western Yosemite Valley, including Tunnel View, Bridalveil Fall area, and El Capitan Meadow.”

Not included on the coin but also iconic of the area are the Giant Sequoias in the Mariposa Grove.  Some of the beautiful trees in Yosemite are estimated at over 3000 years old.

The park boasts 1169 square miles or 747,956 acres of land. With 95% of the park designated as wilderness areas, that keeps over 710,000 acres protected from development. People can enjoy the hundreds of wild animal species and thousands of plants in their natual habitats.

John Muir said of Yosemite, “It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” The park is known for its granite cliffs and monoliths, its waterfalls and clear running streams, the giant sequoia groves and the redwoods, along with the two rivers , the Tuolumne and the Merced, that run wild through the park.

To help visitors enjoy the park, there are 800 miles of hiking trails and 282 miles of road. But, in addition to nature’s beauty, the park also houses five historic landmarks in the form of hotels and lodges.

The new Yosemite quarter honors the park and serves as a reminder of the beauty nature offers.

More information about the coin and its release can be found on the US Mint’s America the Beautiful web site for Yosemite.