Happy 75th Birthday, Kings Canyon National Park!

On March 4, 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed legislation creating Kings Canyon National Park. The new park encompassed 454,000 acres of pristine Sierra Nevada wilderness.

Making Wednesday March 4th 2015 a great day to play hookie and make your way into one of the Sierra Mountains greatest treasures for a celebration. A small event at Grant Grove Visitor Center is scheduled plus it will be Fee Free Day at the park Wednesday in celebration.

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Kings Canyon National Park absorbed lands once part of General Grant National Park (established in 1890; abolished upon designation of Kings Canyon National Park) and was quickly expanded by Presidential Proclamation to include Redwood Canyon and its magnificent giant sequoia groves.

Today, one-half million people find solace within this wild and scenic setting. Largely forgotten is the 60-year struggle at the turn of the 20th century to create the park. Powerful hydroelectric interests from Los Angeles were battling irrigation and agriculture interests from the San Joaquin Valley for water storage and diversion licenses in the Kings River watershed. Early assessments prepared by the Federal Power Commission showed the potential for 19 dams and reservoirs on the south fork of the Kings River. Cedar Grove and Tehipite Valley would be inundated–similar to Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite.

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When these assessments proved unreliable, tourism and preservation interests seized an opening and began lobbying for preservation. A compromise negotiated by Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, under the direction of President Roosevelt, led to development of water storage facilities in lower stretches of theKings River, thereby preserving the pristine upper watershed as a national park. Kings Canyon National Park features scenic auto-touring routes, rustic lodges, family and group campgrounds, and over 825 miles of trails to explore spectacular scenery while hiking and/or horseback-riding.KC-01

Nearly half the park is above timberline and two dozen peaks extend above 13,000 feet. The Pacific Crest and John Muir trails pass through cathedrals of glaciated valleys and domes, including Evolution Valley and Sixty Lakes Basin.

Please join park rangers for special programs this year celebrating the 75th anniversary of Kings Canyon National Park, as well as the 125th anniversary of Sequoia National Park. More information can be found at www.nps.gov/seki.

Snow chains or cables may be required to drive on park roads. State law requires ALL vehicles (including 4-wheel/all-wheel drive) to carry chains in chain-control areas. Call for 24-hour road conditions info: 559-565-3341. If needed, rent or buy chains before entering the parks.

Thank you for using your national parks!