If Congress passes a bill currently on Capitol Hill, Yosemite National Park could get bigger. Of course, that's a big if, since some in Washington see the expansion of government-owned land as a bad thing. Advocates, including the bill's author, Democrat Rep. Jim Costa, are pushing lawmakers to approve the 1,575-acre expansion, saying that the new land would help save money for nearby communities in California and preserve "the integrity of one of our nation's most celebrated places," reports the AP via the San Jose Mercury News.
About half of the new land was purchased by the nonprofit Pacific Forest Trust seven years ago with the intention of giving it to Yosemite. The other half is owned by a consortium of medical professionals who bought it as an investment, with potential plans to develop it. The land encompasses several parcels within California's Mariposa County. Right now, Yosemite spans 761,266 acres, making it the 17th largest national park in the country. (Some of its hot spots, however, had to be closed because of falling boulders.)