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In 1884, the last buffalo hides  Birmingham United Kingdom were shipped, and the proud tribes of the plains, decimated by wars, disease, ethnic cleansing, whiskey, and the rapidly dwindling herds of their life-sustaining bison (it is estimated that by 1884, only 325 wild bison existed), were forced to move onto reservations where conditions were little to no better. Ironically,  Birmingham United Kingdom most of this was justified under the banner of “Manifest Destiny,”  Birmingham United Kingdom whereby it was America’s fate under divine providence to  Birmingham United Kingdom conquer the West (and other countries) without regard to God’s natural gifts for his other children who had occupied those lands in harmonious stewardship for centuries.

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Fortunately, the other wing of divinity would prevail, but first we would have to fight a great war to perfect a more perfect union. Yet even in the carnage of the Civil War, voices of natural well-being and purpose arose out of the wreckage. One would set the precedent for public ownership of natural wonders. The other would articulate the national purpose for such “parks.”

In 1864, United States Senator John Conness of California rose on the Senate floor and introduced an unprecedented bill: the setting aside for public purpose and further enjoyment for all a tract of land. That moved the second actor in this original act of public ownership to exclaim it was “the greatest glory of nature the union of the deepest sublimity with the deepest beauty.” Frederick Law Olmsted, according to Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns in their magnificent television and written history of the national parks, America’s Best Idea, had left New York City, having completed his design of Central Park, to work in California and visit the site called Yosemite. His reasoning for doing so was simple enough. No work was available for landscape architects, not even for America’s most renowned architect who had designed America’s first grand urban park. Even though Yosemite was little visited, by 1864, Olmsted knew of its existence and hastened there as soon as possible.

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