Yosemite Chamber seeking local input

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat /

Businesses near the northern entrance to Yosemite National Park will have the opportunity to promote themselves with the park's upcoming 150th anniversary.

The Yosemite Chamber of Commerce is hosting a special public meeting on Nov. 7 where locals can learn how they can play a role in the 2014 celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act.

Park officials are planning to work with businesses, organizations and people in the park's gateway communities and who are tied to Yosemite tourism to get them involved in a large-scale marketing campaign for the anniversary.

"Efforts are expected to be international, all the way from local to worldwide," said Carolyn Botell, administrator for the Groveland based Yosemite Chamber of commerce.

Through Dec. 15, the National Park Service will accept submissions for products, programs and events and other ideas that can be included as part of the overall anniversary celebration.

Local festival and event coordinators can present ideas for a special tie-in to the park in 2014, or businesses can sell special items with a connection, according to the Chamber.

If accepted, the park will help promote the event, product or program through various marketing means leading up to the anniversary.

Botell said the meeting next week will offer the materials required to apply, and park officials will be on hand to further explain the opportunities.

The Yosemite Chamber has invited businesses in an outside of the Groveland area in hopes as many as possible will join.

Botell said it will be a chance, in some cases, to get free advertising and marketing in the park's campaign promoting the anniversary.

So far, Botell said she is not yet aware of any locals that are participating.

"I'm hoping people go away from it with the form in hand, ready to actually do something … and think outside the box a little bit," she said.

The Yosemite Grant Act was signed June 30, 1864 by Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the American Civil War. The act set aside the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove as protected land managed as a state park.

Management of Yosemite was later transferred to the National Park Service, and the park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.

Contact Chris Caskey at ccaskey@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4527.

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