Giant sequoias on view at Yosemite after 3-year project

Stacey Lastoe, CNNUpdated 18th June 2018
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(CNN) — Some of the largest living things on Earth are housed in California's Yosemite National Park.
Are you packing yet?
In an official ribbon-cutting ceremony and tribal blessing, the newly restored Mariposa Grove, home to 500 mature giant sequoias, was unveiled on Thursday, June 14.
This destination is where some of the world's tallest, widest trees live and breathe.

The project

Three years in the making, the landmark restoration project cost $40 million dollars -- $20 million each from the National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy donors.
Yosemite Conservancy President Frank Dean is confident about its impact on parkgoers.
"Trails are supposed to take visitors someplace magical," says Dean. "Today, a walk in the grove has been transformed into a more beautiful and peaceful experience with the focus squarely on the trees."
Set in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite boasts sequoias, waterfalls, granite cliffs and peaks, red metamorphic rock, hundreds of trails and glaciers -- but it is the sequoias that many believe cements its beauty.

History in these trunks

But these trees, which can live to be 3,000 years old, are in a class of their own: Giant sequoias can grow to be 300 feet high and 100 feet in circumference.
Dean calls them a "unique natural phenomenon" and believes they have the power to transport visitors to a "magical" place.
Yosemite-born Patricia Oliver would likely confirm this. On opening day, she told Central Valley CNN affiliate KSEE that Mariposa Grove is "very special," and appreciates "having it quiet like this and to just hear the water running."
There's history in this park. Nineteenth century history.
The park's superintendent Michael Reynolds explains that the trees "sowed the seeds of the national park idea in the 1800s," crediting the restoration project with ensuring that Yosemite "will remain one of the world's most significant natural and cultural resources."
While the word "mature" often has an unfortunate negative connotation, the sequoias make a hard case for why that's a problem. The grand Grizzly Giant, one of the grove's oldest trees, is said to be around 1,800 years old.
That's a tree worth much more than the cost of entry.