SAN JOSE, Calif. -- For the last five years, hundreds of workers with mules, chain saws and shovels have built new wooden foot bridges on Yosemite National Park's backcountry hiking trails. They have rerouted popular paths to protect the roots of ancient sequoias in the park's Mariposa Grove. And they have installed new signs, stone walls and rock staircases across the famed John Muir Trail.
The $13.5 million job, which was completed this month, is the largest trail restoration project in Yosemite's history. But most of the funding didn't come from taxpayers; $10.5 million was paid for with private donations.