Monday, July 13, 2015

Five Things I Didn't Know about Kings Canyon National Park

1. There's no apostrophe in the name. It's "Kings," not "King's" or "Kings'." But I don't know why.
2. Kings Canyon National Park turned 75 years old in 2015, and it incorporates the General Grant National Park (established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of giant sequoias). The park is administered jointly with Sequoia National Park, which is next to it.
3. The part of Kings Canyon we visited is the smaller section, which preserves the General Grant Tree ("the nation's Christmas tree") and the Redwood Mountain Grove, the world's largest remaining natural grove of giant sequoias in the world, with 15,800 sequoia trees over one foot in diameter at the base. However, the rest of the park (about 90%) forms the headwaters of the South and Middle Forks of the Kings River and the South Fork of the San Joaquin River, which have extensive glacial canyons. There are cave systems, too. Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks caves contain Pleistocene era fossils, rare minerals and unique animals. Half of California's caves more than a mile long are in the two parks.

4. In Grant Grove, the "Centennial Stump" was created when a giant tree was cut down for exhibition at the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876. Many people refused to believe the portion on exhibit came from one tree, calling it the "California Hoax." The stump remaining in the ground was used for a Sunday School class run by some of the women from a nearby logging camp.

5. California's ongoing drought is evident in the many brown-needled trees, some dead or dying, some coping by dropping needles to conserve available moisture.

-- Mindy