Happy 75th Anniversary, Kings Canyon National Park!
Kings Canyon National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno, California. The park was established on March 4, 1940 and covers 461,901 acres. It incorporated General Grant National Park, which was established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of giant sequoias.
The park is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service jointly as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Kings Canyon had been known to white settlers since the mid-19th century, but it was not until John Muir first visited in 1873 that the canyon began receiving attention. Muir was delighted at the canyon’s similarity to Yosemite Valley, as it reinforced his theory regarding the origin of both valleys, which, though competing with Josiah Whitney’s then-accepted theory that the spectacular mountain valleys were formed by earthquake action, Muir’s theory later proved correct: that both valleys were carved by massive glaciers during the last Ice Age.
Then United States Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes fought to create the Kings Canyon National Park. He hired Ansel Adams to photograph and document this among other parks, in great part leading to the passage of the bill in March 1940. The bill combined the General Grant Grove with the backcountry beyond Zumwalt Meadow.
Kings Canyon’s future was in doubt for nearly fifty years. Some wanted to build a dam at the western end of the valley, while others wanted to preserve it as a park. The debate was settled in 1965, when the valley, along with Tehipite Valley, was added to the park.
Today Both Sequoia and Kings Canyon are offering free admission, and Delaware North (the parks’ concessioner) has graciously offered to host a small reception at Kings Canyon National Park, Grant Grove, at John Muir Lodge (lobby).