President Barack Obama and his traveling White House entourage will soon descend upon Yosemite National Park for the first time as part of a two-state Western park jaunt, officials announced Thursday.
Obama’s trip will be his first official visit to Yosemite and is part of a presidential run-up to the National Park Service’s centennial celebration. It will also be a bit of a family getaway, albeit one with abundant Secret Service and media coverage.
“The First Family is taking a summer trip to take in the great American outdoors!” the White House enthusiastically stated in a Facebook announcement.
Many details of the trip remain under wraps, beyond the basics that Obama will tour both Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico and Yosemite from June 17 until June 19.
Under the president’s leadership, we’ve had 99 victories for wildlife conservation, protecting iconic endangered species, from black bears to manatees, for future generations.
White House official
On background, a White House official cast the Carlsbad Cavern and Yosemite trips as part of the Obama administration’s broader natural resource protection efforts, which have included close attention to the effects of climate change.
“The administration will continue to protect iconic landscapes, connect younger and more diverse populations to the outdoors, and work toward a more inclusive system of parks and protected public lands that reflect the diversity of our nation,” the White House official said.
The National Park Service turns 100 on Aug. 25, giving the president’s park visits extra flavor.
Obama will be arriving, moreover, as the much-visited park continues its transition from one concession company to another. On March 1, a subsidiary of the Philadelphia-based Aramark took over after beating out the former concessionaire, a subsidiary of the Buffalo-based Delaware North.
Park service officials have described the transition as a smooth one, though a legal battle still rages at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims over the Delaware North company’s claims that it’s owed millions of dollars for trademarked names.
Citing the trademark dispute, the park service has in the meantime changed the names of certain Yosemite spots. Instead of seeing the famed Ahwahnee hotel, for instance, Obama and his family members will get to check out the renamed Majestic Yosemite Hotel.
Attracting upwards of 4 million visitors annually, Yosemite has periodically drawn political celebrities of various stripes. In 1983, Queen Elizabeth II visited the park in an 18-car processional.
Yosemite officials referred questions about the visit to the White House.