Yosemite is celebrating 125 years with the help of a special 9-year-old ranger

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Below a breathtaking backdrop, hundreds of children gathered to celebrate Yosemite National Park's 125th anniversary. (KFSN)

Below a breathtaking backdrop, hundreds of children gathered to celebrate Yosemite National Park's 125th anniversary.

"No words can describe how privileged I feel to be part of a place where the national park idea first sprouted," said Vera Reyes, UC Merced Yosemite Leadership Program.

In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the legislation that made Yosemite wild place -- a national park. It's seen a lot since then, from natural disasters to controversial development, but its essence remains the same. "Yosemite is life, the deer, the squirrels with bushy tails, the birds and the bears -- it's trees like the pines, the oaks, the cedars, and especially the giant sequoias," said Lasen Andrews, Wawona student.

During the ceremony on Tuesday, students from across the region read letters about what the park means to them. And Gabriel Lavan-Ying was named the event's honorary chairman. "It feels awesome because I never got to have this opportunity to be a chairman, and I'm a chairman in Yosemite. I just love that," said Lavan-Ying.

The nine-year-old from Florida has a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. He first visited Yosemite through the Make-A-Wish program last summer and became an honorary ranger. But now tells superintendent Don Neubacher he'd like to take his job one day. "It's going to be hard because you're very awesome at doing your job."

Neubacher says the park is healthier now than when he visited as a child thanks to conservation and restoration programs. And he's confident these children will help preserve it for generations to come. "I believe based on some of the letters and all the work we did, there will be a lot supporters of Yosemite and great stewards as we move forward over the next hundred years."

Many more anniversary events are planned in the coming months, both in the park, and in the surrounding gateway communities.

You can find a complete list, here on Yosemite's website.
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