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Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite

Cook’s Meadow (42 acres, 17 hec) in Yosemite Valley underwent restoration by the National Park Service in cooperation with donors, volunteers, and park partners, over a period of about eight years. The meadow is a dynamic wetland ecosystem. The photo above is in April. In June, the meadow looks like this, and in October, it looks like this and like this! The meadow changes from a wetland with nesting ducks and redwing blackbirds to a meadow with milkweed and butterflies.

The Cook’s Meadow Restoration Project had the goal of restoring scenic beauty and ecological integrity to a centerpiece of Yosemite Valley.

The restoration included:

  • Filling four drainage ditches created by early Euro-American settlers
  • Removing a raised, abandoned roadbed and a trail that bisected the meadow
  • Reconstructing the trail on an elevated boardwalk that allows water to flow
  • Installing culverts under Sentinel Road to direct runoff into the meadow and restore water flow from the Merced River during seasonal periods of high water
  • Reducing non-native plant species

Cook’s Meadow continues to be monitored following the restoration.

I wrote about Cook’s Meadow as part of a blog entry about a recent day trip to Yosemite Valley this monh. Be careful on the elevated boardwalk – it can be a little slippery. I saw one of two young bicyclists take a tumble while riding across with her dad while I was there. It might have been better (and safer) for ALL of them (and for other pedestrians) to have walked their bikes across the narrow walkway.You may find that California bicyclists tend to drive as badly as (or worse than) our motorists, but in Yosemite Valley, bicyclists come from all over the world.

The restoration of Cook’s Meadow has given us back a beautiful piece of nature that is easily accessible and seen by thousands of visitors to Yosemite National Park.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®. Both Shutterfly™ and CafePress® ship to most international locations worldwide! If you don’t see what you want or would like to receive an email when new photos are up on the site, send us an email at

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