EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the grove would reopen to the public on Thursday. It actually opens Friday.
YOSEMITE (CBS13) — After three years of restoration and $40 million, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite will reopen to the public on Friday.
The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is the largest sequoia grove in Yosemite, home to 500 mature trees. This restoration was the biggest in park history, according to park officials. To celebrate, Yosemite National Park and Yosemite Conservancy will host a dedication ceremony, marking the reopening of the Mariposa Grove.
The celebration will include live music, guest speakers, an American Indian Blessing, and tours of the restored Mariposa Grove.
In addition to being some of the largest living things on earth, the giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove were also the inspiration for National parks, according to the National Parks website.
“In 1864 President Lincoln signed legislation protecting the Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley for ‘public use, resort, and recreation.’” the National Parks website states.
That legislation set a precedent to protect natural land for future generations and made Mariposa Grove a popular destination within Yosemite National Park.
The initial restoration project started in the spring of 2015 with the goals of improving the habitat for the giant sequoias and the overall experience for visitors.
During the multi-year project crews removed parking areas, constructed a new boardwalk, reestablished the wetlands, and created a new Welcome Plaza. The project was funded by both the Yosemite Conservancy donors and the National Park Service, each contributing $20 million.