A moment three years in the making — Yosemite National Park’s Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias reopens to the public on Friday after undergoing a massive restoration project.

On Thursday morning, Yosemite National Park administration and staff, as well as National Park Service staff, came together to dedicate the newly restored grove. The ceremony also included an American Indian blessing.

After the ceremony, the crowd got to walk alongside the grove’s sequoias for the first time in three years.

The Yosemite Conservancy, an organization that has provided support to the park on different projects for decades, paid half of the $40 million bill for the project. This makes this the biggest restoration project in the park’s history.

The project, which began during the summer in 2015, took out around 1.4 acres-worth of asphalt. Most of the asphalt belonged to roads trams would ride on, which was the only way to really explore the grove. Now, four miles of trails have been put in a majority of the roads’ place.

Patricia Oliver, who was born in Yosemite, said the removal of the trams is great.

“It’s very special,” she said. “Having it quiet like this and to just hear the water running.”

Four acres of sequoia habitat was restored in the grove. Also, existing infrastructure had been moved or rebuilt around the trees’ roots.

“The whole idea was to pull all the development outside the grove and just appreciate the natural conditions. Also, restore the habitat for the trees,” said Frank Dean, president for the Yosemite Conservancy.

A new Welcome Plaza area has been built right by the park’s south entrance. The 300-plus parking lot includes a welcome center, as well as a pick-up and drop off spot for the grove’s shuttle. The parking lot at the grove has also been reduced from more than 100, to around 30 spaces. Also, a new ADA parking area had been created near Grizzly Giant.

All changes show increasing visitor accessibility to the lower grove area is a big focus of the project. However, at the heart, it’s all about protecting the trees.

“Streams are now flowing freely across the root systems and the trees will have the best chance of survival,” said Dean.

The grove reopens Friday at 9 a.m. Shuttles from the welcome plaza leave every ten minutes.