Yosemite National Park is located in the central eastern portion of California, United States covering an area of 761,268 acres (3,080.74 km2) and reaches across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain.  Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity.  Although not the first designated national park, Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea, largely owing to the work of people like Galen Clark and John Muir.


Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals.  It has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m) and contains five major vegetation zones.  Of California's 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% within Yosemite.  There is suitable habitat or documentation for more than 160 rare plants in the park, with unusual local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy.