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Key Partner Groups at Yosemite National Park Announce Merger

Yosemite Falls.

Photo of Yosemite Falls by the_tahoe_guy via Creative Commons and flickr.

In today's world, non-profit "partner" groups play an increasingly important role in providing funding for a variety of activities in many national parks. Two key players at Yosemite National Park have announced they are joining forces and merging into a single organization.

The Yosemite Fund and The Yosemite Association are combining into a "unified nonprofit that will make it even easier to support projects and programs that preserve park resources and enrich the visitor experience." and

The Yosemite Association was established in 1923 as the nation's first “cooperating association” with the National Park Service. The Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of Yosemite National Park through volunteerism, outdoor learning, publishing, arts, wilderness and Junior Ranger programs.

Revenues from the Yosemite Association help support education, museum, research, and environmental programs in Yosemite through donations to the NPS. The group sells and publishes books, maps, DVDs, posters, Native American handcrafts, and similar items related to the park, and offers a wide variety of outdoor programs, seminars and other activities.

“Providing for Yosemite’s future is our passion,” said Christy Holloway, chair of the Yosemite Association Board of Trustees. “We are profoundly grateful for the support of our members, donors, volunteers and staffs who have helped us reach this new and exciting chapter in our proud histories.”

The Yosemite Fund has been raising money to help the park since 1988, funding

projects focused on trail repair and access, habitat restoration, visitor services and education, cultural and historic preservation, scientific research and wildlife management. It has supported over 300 projects, providing more than $55 million for projects that preserve, protect and enhance Yosemite National Park.

“This is an exciting moment for a special place that we all treasure,” said The Yosemite Fund’s Chairman of the Board, Hal Cranston. “By combining the best elements and proud histories of the two organizations, we can do more than ever to protect Yosemite and inspire enduring connections for current and future generations.”

Creation of the unified organization has been approved by the boards of trustees of both groups, by Association members and the Fund’s Council. They expect State of California approvals for the merger to take effect in January, and both the Fund and Association will continue to operate as they do now until the middle of 2010, to allow the transition to a consolidated organization.

Among decisions yet to be made is a new name for the combined organization. Mike Tollefson, president of The Yosemite Fund, will be president of the unified organization, which will initially operate with "an integrated board of trustees comprised of leaders of both organizations."

If you're interested in more details about the merger, you'll find them on this FAQ page.

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