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Yosemite National Park Expands

Ackerson Meadow (photo: yosemiteconservancy/Instagram)

California's Yosemite National Park grew by 400 acres last week—the park's largest expansion in 70 years. 

Thanks to a donation of land from private owners, Yosemite now includes Ackerson Meadow, a green expanse surrounded by pine trees and inhabited by wildlife including the endangered great grey owl. 

Donors Robin and Nancy Wainwright say they passed up a lucrative offer to turn the land into a resort, choosing instead to allow all Yosemite guests the chance to spot bears loping through the grassy meadow or springtime wildflowers blanketing the rolling hills.

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Critics—and there were some, given that publically held land has become a politically contentious issue—say they'd prefer the acreage be used for cattle grazing and logging, as it's been used in the past. 

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