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Yosemite National Park, Closed on Its 123rd Birthday


California's Yosemite National Park, established on October 1, 1890, stands closed today, along with all other national parks and monuments in the U.S. More than a century ago, naturalist John Muir, a strong advocate for the recognition and protection of the region, successfully lobbied congress to set aside more than 700,000 acres as one of the nation's first national parks. These days (when the park is open), up to 4 million visitors per year make the trip to Yosemite. As we wait out the government shutdown, here is a virtual tour of Yosemite over the past 123 years. [32 photos]

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Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, 2009. Original here. (CC BY John Lemieux)
Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, 2009. Original here. (CC BY John Lemieux)
Visitors pose on Glacier Point, 3,201 feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley, ca 1887. (Library of Congress) #
Yosemite Valley, California, ca 1865. (Carleton Watkins/Library of Congress) #
Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir on Glacier Point, Yosemite Valley, California, in 1903. (Library of Congress) #
Yosemite's Domes, ca. 1865 (Carleton Watkins/Library of Congress) #
Buffalo Soldiers from Company H, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1899. America's Buffalo Soldiers (African-American regiments of the U.S. Army formed in 1866) stationed eight troops of the 9th Cavalry Regiment and one company of the 24th Infantry Regiment in California to serve as some of the country's first National Park Rangers. (U.S. National Park Service) #
The Valley, Half Dome, Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, ca. 1902. (Library of Congress) #
In 1944, convalescent sailors rest in Ward A at the Yosemite Naval Convalescent Hospital, located in Yosemite National Park, California, on September 17. The Ahwahnee Hotel was converted to a hospital during World War II. (AP Photo/U.S. National Park Service/Ansel Adams) #
Some of the patients of the Yosemite National Park Naval Convalescent Hospital try their hand at trout fishing in the Merced River which runs through Yosemite Valley, California, on August 12, 1943. Seated on bank, left, is Joseph P. Clements, PFC in the marines. At right is George Whisman, ship's cook 2nd class of Portland, Oregon. In left background the North Dome rises 7,531 feet. At right, Half Dome rises 8,852 feet. (AP Photo/Ernest King) #
Patients from the Yosemite Naval Convalescent Hospital gaze at a tree on Sentinel Dome at Yosemite National Park, on July 24, 1944. The sailors are (left to right) Rockwell Jackson, Eugene Arata, John Rohn and R.T. Berlin. (AP Photo/U.S. National Park Service/Ralph Anderson) #
Bicycles are a favorite means of getting to key locations on the Yosemite Valley Floor in Yosemite National Park, on July 8, 1952. This small group is shown at Mirror Lake, a favorite spot with visitors. (AP Photo/Ernest Bennett) #
Deluxe camping is done by trailer travelers who bring their rolling homes to Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park in California, on July 8, 1952. The picture shows Mr. and Mrs. Eric C. Peterson, of San Fernando, California. (AP Photo/Ernest K. Bennett) #
At Glacier Point, 3,254 feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley and 7,250 feet above sea level, numerous peaks of the main Sierra Nevada range can be seen, July 8, 1952. (AP Photo/Ernest K. Bennett) #
Susan Ford, daughter of President Gerald Ford, learns photography from Ansel Adams at his gallery near Yosemite National Park, in June of 1975. (AP Photo) #
Park superintendent Bob Binnewies points out highlights from Inspiration Point to Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Yosemite National Park, on March 5, 1983. (AP Photo/Walt Zeboski) #
Mountains and meadows in Yosemite National Park. (Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress) #
The setting sun hits Horsetail Fall at just the right angle to light it up as if it's on fire, in Yosemite Park, in February of 2008. This natural phenomena occurs for just two weeks in February and is reminiscent of an old firefall of burning embers that park employees pushed over Glacier Point to entertain guests until 1968. (AP Photo/Yosemite National Park Service, Bethany Gediman) #
Banner Peak in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, outside Yosemite National Park, on September 25, 2012. (AP Photo/John Pain) #
Sky & Telescope Senior Editor Roger Sinnott sets up his 5x7 view camera toward the Clark Mountain Range on September 15, 2005, at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. Astronomers pinned down the exact time and date that photographer Ansel Adams snapped his ethereal picture "Autumn Moon," and determined that the sun, moon and mountains were to align in the same positions at 7:03 p.m. as they did more than 55 years ago when Adams photographed the scene. "Autumn Moon: the High Sierra From Glacier Point" depicts a gauzy moon hanging in the darkening sky above the jagged peaks of the Clark Range. Sinnott believes the spot he placed his camera to be the same spot used by Adams. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) #
Two juvenile Great Gray Owls sit on a tree branch in Yosemite National Park, on July of 2012. The unique Great Gray Owls of Yosemite National Park, left to evolve after glacial ice separated them from their plentiful Canadian brethren 30 millennia ago, are both a mystery and concern to the scientists charged with protecting them. (AP Photo/National Park Service) #
Half Dome as viewed from Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park. (CC BY SA David Liff) #
Last portion of the ascent to the top of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park. (CC BY SA Daniel Schwen) #
Vernal Fall. (CC BY SA Flickr user 'Dave') #
A bobcat, photographed during a group photo outing to Yosemite National Park in February of 2011. Original here. (CC BY Mike Baird) #
Massive granite towering over Tenaya Lake, in 2011. Original here. (CC BY Frank Kovalchek) #
Jugging up the haul line on Leaning Tower, Yosemite. Original here. (CC BY Maria Ly) #
A deer runs through a parking lot in Yosemite Valley on August 28, 2013. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) #
Yosemite Valley, withe Half Dome at left, seen from Cloud's Rest. (CC BY SA) #
Flames from the Rim Fire consume trees on August 25, 2013 near Groveland, California. Although it is currently 92% contained, the Rim Fire continues to burn in some areas, after scorching more than 250,000 acres, including parts of backcountry Yosemite National Park. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) #
Waterfalls in Yosemite, photographed in May of 2010. Original here. (CC BY SA Georg Lester) #
Spring runoff is in full swing as seen from a distance of Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite National Park, on May 16, 2008. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian) #
Facing Vernal Falls. Original here. (CC BY Steve Jurvetson) #

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