Wilderness Report #194:
July 13, 2007
California’s Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park Wilderness Act Introduced
Sequoia National Park, America's second oldest park, was later joined with Kings Canyon National Park to form an area described only with multiple superlatives. Here in the heart of California you will find some of the most glorious scenery on Earth, a world of high peaks, deep canyons, lush meadows, bright lakes, rushing rivers, sparkling streams, and big, big trees.
To the west, the park descends to dry foothills of oak and chaparral toward the San Joaquin Valley. To the south runs the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River, as well as the Wild and Scenic North Fork of the Kern River. To the east stands the crest of the Sierra Nevada and the highest mountain in the Lower 48, Mount Whitney at 14,495 feet, shared with the John Muir Wilderness. Across the heart of the area runs Kings Canyon at depths virtually unparalleled, prompting conservationist John Muir to dub it "a rival to Yosemite."
On July 12th, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced legislation to protect nearly 115,000 acres within Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park as wilderness. Representatives Jim Costa (D-CA) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
The proposed wilderness area includes the Redwood Mountain Grove, the largest Giant Sequoia grove within the Park. It also includes California’s longest cave and the Old Hockett Trail, one of the first cross-Sierra routes in the southern Sierra Nevada range. The land is home to many wild animals, including the California Spotted Owl and the Golden Eagle.
Senator Boxer stated, “This bipartisan effort will protect 115,000 acres of spectacular lands, including majestic mountains, canyons, caverns and sequoia groves in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. This legislation will ensure that these beautiful areas will be sustained and preserved as part of California’s identity and rich, natural heritage.”
“Wilderness designations have historically been highly contentious. I am pleased that we were able to work together to ensure that the concerns of my constituents were addressed prior to moving forward,” noted Representative Nunes. “This is the right way to govern and I believe this proposal will garner strong bipartisan support.”
Nearly 70,000 acres of this proposed wilderness area would be named after John Krebs, a former Fresno County Supervisor and U.S. Congressman who successfully fought to keep Mineral King Valley undeveloped by transferring the land into the National Park.
Senator Boxer added, “Naming part of this wilderness after former Congressman John Krebs is an overdue and fitting tribute to a great conservationist and legislator. John courageously led the fight to protect Mineral King Valley from development and deserves our gratitude for its pristine natural beauty today.”