Yosemite National Park is getting 400 more acres, its largest expansion since 1949. The Trust for Public Land bought the land, which was previously used for logging and cattle grazing and which lies along the park's western boundary, for $2.3 million, NPR reports. The trust, a conservation group whose purchase was supported by private donors and a number of other groups, then donated the land to Yosemite on Wednesday. Ranching will cease on the land in two years.
The land is home to at least two endangered species and also includes Ackerson Meadow, which the trust describes as "a gentler landscape than the imposing granite cliffs of Yosemite Valley." Just 3% of Yosemite is meadow, Reuters reports. Yosemite, which totals around 750,000 acres, has had its eye on the land for decades, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "It’s a really important acquisition," says a spokesperson for the park. "You’ve got the critical habitat for the birds and reptiles, and you’ve got the wetlands." The owners of the land tell the AP they declined a higher offer for the land that would have seen it turned into a resort. (Read more Yosemite National Park stories.)