In 1890, several years after John Muir witnessed and reported on the destruction of the Sequoia groves, President Benjamin Harrison signed the bill that established Sequoia National Park. It was America’s second national park, dubbed the “stepsister” of Yosemite. One week later, Congress increased the park’s size threefold, creating General Grant National Park to protect Grant Grove. Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, continued efforts to preserve the trees and the National Geographic Society granted funds to acquire 2,000 additional acres of land. In 1926, Sequoia was expanded to include Kern Canyon and Mt. Whitney. By 1940, almost half a century after Muir advocated the creation of one grand national park including Kings Canyon, Congress created Kings Canyon National Park, absorbing the tiny General Grant National Park. As a World War II economy measure, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks were managed jointly, and the policy continues today. Sequoia/Kings Canyon continues to be threatened and the debates are endless. In the 1960s, a proposal to build dams on the upper Kings River watershed ended, as legislators were reminded of the loss of the Grand Canyon of Yosemite when the Hetch Hetchy Dam was built and the surrounding canyon filled in with water. Later that decade, plans to build a huge ski resort in Mineral King were thwarted by environmentalists, and in 1978 Mineral King was given permanent protection and added to the National Park. As recently as 1984, 95 percent of the acreage in the combined parks became protected wilderness under the National Wilderness Act. Today the land of Sequoia/Kings Canyon totals almost one million acres. As with all federal lands, Sequoia National Park continues to undergo metamorphoses as the delicate balance is sought of protecting our endangered resources while promoting their recreational use. As Tom McFadden, General Manager of Wuksachi Village said, “It’s all about the Park.” This eTrail contains a thorough description of the resort including driving directions, mountain statistics, trail profiles, extensive lodging & dining information, travel tips, and much more.
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