Yosemite National Park Quarter

The third 2010 coin to be issued in the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program is the Yosemite National Park Quarter. It will launch into circulation on July 26, 2010.

2010 Yosemite National Park Quarter
2010 Yosemite National Park Quarter - Click to Enlarge

Probably best known for its waterfalls, Yosemite in California also offers abundant wildlife, amazing scenery, ancient giant sequoias and much, much more.

The Yosemite quarter reverse or tails side design depicts El Capitan, which is 3,000 feet at the tallest point and is the largest monolith of granite in the world. Inscriptions on the quarter-dollar include YOSEMITE, CALIFORNIA, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. It was designed by Joseph Menna and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill.

Prior to the selection of the final design by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner after receiving recommendations from U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy, four candidates were drawn up for review.

Along with various individuals, these proposals were presented to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the United States Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), both of which have the responsibility of reviewing and recommending designs for all American coinage and medals.

The four design options include scenes of Yosemite’s Bridalveil Fall, one of the most prominent waterfalls in the Yosemite Valley in California, the famous Half Dome granite cliff and the granite cliff called El Capitan.

Yosemite National Park Quarter, Design Candidate CA-01 - Click to Enlarge
Yosemite National Park Quarter, Design Candidate CA-01 - Click to Enlarge
Yosemite National Park Quarter, Design Candidate CA-02 - Click to Enlarge
Yosemite National Park Quarter, Design Candidate CA-02 - Click to Enlarge
Yosemite National Park Quarter, Design Candidate CA-03 - Click to Enlarge
Yosemite National Park Quarter, Design Candidate CA-03 - Click to Enlarge
Yosemite National Park Quarter, Design Candidate CA-04 - Click to Enlarge
Yosemite National Park Quarter, Design Candidate CA-04 - Click to Enlarge

The CCAC preferred and chose design CA-03 depicting El Capitan, which happens to be the base design that was eventually selected for the Yosemite quarter.

The CFA selected design candidate CA-04 which depicts the granite Half Dome, but did recommended adjustments.

The Mint made the final design announcement for all the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters on March 24, 2010.

The Yosemite coin follows the Hot Springs National Park Quarter and the Yellowstone National Park Quarter issues. The two sites to be honored and featured in 2010 after the Yosemite are Grand Canyon National Park and Mount Hood National Forest.

Also issued by the US Mint will be the Yosemite America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin containing this same design.

Additional 2010 America the Beautiful Quarter releases for the year include:

Yosemite National Park in California

Yosemite Falls at Yosemite National Park (NPS Photo) - Click to Enlarge
Yosemite Falls at Yosemite National Park (NPS Photo) - Click to Enlarge

The unique landscape of Yosemite is the work of millions of years of natural forces. Around 10 million years ago, the area was uplifted and tilted which formed the relatively gentle slope of the land. Then around 1 million years ago giant glaciers started to contour the massive valleys out of the granite hills.

Native Americans were known to frequent the area for many years before the Mariposa Battalion first entered it in 1851. Based on their impressive accounts, other visitors started to arrive.

Intent on protecting the area, concerned citizens lobbied the United States Congress which passed the Yosemite Grant which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864. In setting aside the land for public use, the grant paved the way for the creation of the first national park in Yellowstone less than a decade later.

Unfortunately, the Yosemite Grant failed to protect the area as much as supporters had hoped because it left control of the area to the State of California. Powerless to evict homesteaders, the board controlling Yosemite achieved little to aid the fragile area.

Finally, in the early 1900’s, naturalist John Muir camped with President Theodore Roosevelt near Glacier Point during which he extolled the virtues of Yosemite. Roosevelt agreed and in 1906 he signed a bill placing Yosemite under the control of the federal government.

Today, an estimated 3.5 million annual visitors enjoy the benefits the park has to offer. Most only spend time in Yosemite Valley enjoying the granite El Capitan and the more famous Half Dome. However, the park features much more scenery, with over 95% of it designated wilderness. Wildlife runs abundant and Yosemite is also home to groves of ancient giant sequoias.