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Otto

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21

Dienstag, 19. Februar 2019, 19:01

Weather closes large part of Generals Highway in Sequoia National Park

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Anyone hoping to see the world's largest tree this holiday didn't get that chance.

Last night, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks closed the Generals Highway, between Potwisha campground and the Giant Forest.

The latest closure came after a brief reopening of the road on Sunday.

Reimer's Candies and Gifts is one of the more popular stopping points before Sequoia National Park.

And despite most of the park being closed due to unsafe winter conditions, workers there say they don't see a dip in business.

Because most visitors aren't aware of the closure until they get to the entrance station.

On Monday, most people turned around.

But others decided to stick around.

And some even tried to wait it out.

"We actually drove to the gate twice yesterday at different times just to double check and then we're like ok we'll try again today," said Carolyn Truong.

Carolyn Truong and Dean Pasternak are from Canada.

The big trees are on their bucket list, but it's not likely they'll see them on this trip-Potwisha Campground is as far as they can go.

They say they'll be back.

"We're hoping to do a West Coast trip one day too where we can just take the whole coast and all the scenery maybe in the summer, so everything is clear," Pasternak said.

The Generals Highway could reopen again soon, so officials with Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks advise to call ahead for the latest road conditions.

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22

Mittwoch, 6. März 2019, 19:55

Buck Rock
This hidden fire lookout offers spectacular views of Sequoia National Park.

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Do you like off-roading? Do you like to hike questionable flights of stairs to get to the ultimate 8,500-foot panoramic view of Sequoia National Park? If you do, then Buck Rock Fire Lookout is for you!
Buck Rock Fire Lookout is a hidden gem among an already impressive backdrop. It’s perched 8,502 feet above Sequoia National Park, with amazing views of The Great Western Divide. It is occupied seven days a week by Forest Service personnel so they are able to look for smoke and fire throughout the park. There are 172 steps that you must ascend in order to get to the top, and let’s just say, that’s quite the adventure in itself!

Know Before You Go
Buck Rock is free and open to the public, you just have to find your way there. Your journey starts on Forest Route 13S04, and you will be wondering if you made a wrong turn. Don't worry, keep driving, and after about 2 miles (as you are testing the suspension on your car) you will see your destination in the distance. Low profile cars should not attempt this road.

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23

Mittwoch, 6. März 2019, 20:14

Ich bin vor einer Weile schon auf "Atlas Obscura" aufmerksam geworden (siehe Ottos Link), als ich deren deutsche Übersetzung ihres Buches in die Hand bekam. Auf der Seite gibt es jede Menge interessante und kuriose Orte zu entdecken. Sehr empfehlenswert!
In diesem Sinne
liebe Grüße von Stefan :-)


Wer unsere Reisen nach- und miterleben möchte, ist hier jederzeit willkommen!

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Otto

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24

Freitag, 5. April 2019, 19:19

A California national park is getting its first cell tower. Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea

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Verizon Wireless has won approval from the National Park Service to build a 138-foot-tall cellular tower in Sequoia National Park to improve cell phone service in that area of the park.
The tower will be a “monopine” design intended to disguise it as a pine tree and it will be built near Wuksachi Village, a developed commercial area in the park. The approval follows almost two years of evaluation since Verizon applied for a permit. It also came after a monthlong comment period in late 2018 in which a majority of public comments opposed allowing Verizon to install the tower.
Verizon’s tower would be the first such installation inside Sequoia National Park, according to data from the Federal Communications Commission. Sequoia’s sister park, neighboring Kings Canyon National Park, has a cellular tower also licensed to Verizon near Wilsonia and Grant Grove. Farther north in Yosemite National Park, there are nine towers that provide cellular service for park employees and visitors, including in Yosemite Valley.
The right-of-way permit for Verizon to build the tower is effective for 10 years.

“Many visitors and park staff will view the service as a welcome benefit for purposes of accessibility, coordination, communication and safety,” the Park Service said in a statement Wednesday announcing the approval at Sequoia National Park.
The agency noted, however, that objections from the public included concerns about how adding more cellular service inside the park could detract from why many people visit in the first place: “solitude, self-reliance, natural soundscapes, and the ability to disconnect from technology, particularly in wilderness.”
Some comments expressed concern about exposure to electromagnetic frequencies from the tower, a possible increase in visitors illegally using cell phones while driving, and disruption of peace and quiet by people talking loudly on their phones.
Opinions seemed split on the design of the tower and a choice between the “monopine” or a bare pole or lattice tower. “The monopine model is the only acceptable alternatives among those presented here,” one commenter wrote. Another added that “the tower’s presence would not be very noticeable, as it would blend in amongst the trees.”
Others disagreed. “These towers do not resemble a pine tree and would easily take away from the beautiful nature that is displayed all around Sequoia National Park,” one commenter wrote.
In documents recommending approval of the project, Sequoia/Kings Canyon park superintendent Woody Smeck wrote that “the selected alternative will not have significant effect on the quality of the human environment or the park’s cultural or natural resources.”
“The NPS has determined that the long-term health, safety, and communication benefits associated with enhanced communications” — including better ability to report emergencies and non-emergency situations by phone — “outweighs the disruption some visitors may experience in response to other visitors’ use of cell phones in public spaces,” according to the Park Service’s environmental assessment.
“While other visitors may view cell phone service as an unwelcome intrusion, the NPS is committed to a public education program to promote considerate use of cell phones in shared public facilities and spaces,” the agency added.

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25

Sonntag, 7. April 2019, 18:57

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Expect Some Late Facility Openings Due to Heavy Snowpack and Hazard Trees

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Visitors and staff at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park have become accustomed to the light winters that the drought has produced. Recent snow surveys show that Sequoia and Kings Canyon is 153% of normal. There are areas that still have 6-10 feet of snow in early April. Another result of the recent drought is the large number of hazard trees in the campgrounds and parking areas that usually open in April or early May.

Azalea Campground closed on Tuesday, April 2, due to the large number of hazard trees in the campground. This is a temporary closure. In an abundance of caution for park visitors, crews are working to address these tree hazards before facilities open for the season. Cutting and clearing these trees is one of the highest priorities for crews at Sequoia and Kings Canyon this spring, as conditions allow. With the closure of Azalea Campground, there are currently no open campgrounds in Kings Canyon. If you are looking for opportunities to camp during this time of year, Potwisha, Buckeye Flat, and South Fork Campgrounds in the foothills of Sequoia National Park are open.

Currently, there is 6-10 feet of snow on the ground in parking lots and around buildings in Giant Forest and Lodgepole. The Main Sherman Tree Parking Area and comfort station are still buried in snow, as shown in the photo. This large parking lot is closed. There is space for about fifteen vehicles to park at the Winter Sherman Tree Parking Area. Many visitors are parking at the Giant Forest Museum parking lot and hiking or snowshoeing the 2.7 miles on the Alta Trail to see the Sherman Tree. Check at Giant Forest Museum for more details and routes. It is open daily from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

In Kings Canyon National Park, the General Grant Tree Trail is open. Kings Canyon Visitor Center is open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

In Giant Forest and Grant Grove, be prepared for winter conditions. Although forecasts call for 80-degree temperatures in Fresno later this week, the snowpack persists at higher elevations. More storms may be on the way. Please be prepared.

If you’re considering a wilderness trip this year, it’s not too early to start thinking about how this deep snowpack will affect your plans, particularly in the early part of the summer. Some things to expect: challenging route finding, swift creek crossings, icy passes, and delayed grazing opening dates. With the heavy snow year and hazard trees, park staff will continue to monitor and assess conditions and will be pro-active in letting the public know when conditions change; and as we start opening facilities or about additional delays.

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26

Montag, 22. April 2019, 20:06

Spring 2019 in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

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Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is kicking off National Park Week this Saturday, April 20th with a fee free day. Visitors can enjoy the parks for free, and are invited to participate in the annual Junior Ranger Day festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. near the Foothills Visitor Center in Sequoia National Park. Complete activities and collect stamps at exploration stations to earn a special Junior Ranger patch. As families prepare for a fun trip to the parks this spring and summer season, there are a number of things to keep in mind for a safe and enjoyable visit.

Wild flowers are blooming and temperatures rising in the Foothills area of Sequoia National Park, but as you drive up into the Giant Forest and Grant Grove, you can expect to see snow and feel the temperatures drop. If you had plans to camp, you’ll also notice that campgrounds like Lodgepole or Azalea, both of which would typically be open this time of year, are currently closed due to hazard trees and late season snow.

Campgrounds
Campgrounds in all areas of the parks are affected by hazard trees, a tree that has a structural defect that makes it likely to fail in whole or in part, posing a threat to anyone in the vicinity. Years of drought have generated over 5,600 dead trees near campsites, roads, and buildings. Out of nearly 1,200 campsites in the parks, only about 300 are expected to be open by Memorial Day weekend. In an effort to get campgrounds opened as quickly as possible, tree crews will be leaving the wood behind to gather or burn at a later time. Visitors are welcome to use this wood for campfires, unless fire restrictions are in place.

The only open campgrounds in the parks are Potwisha, Buckeye Flat, and South Fork in the Sequoia foothills. All other campground are closed at this time. A new park webpage has been developed to help with trip planning that reflects the most current information on new estimated open dates

River Safety
Snow surveys show that sites within the parks have approximately 141% of the April 1 average water content. This means that as snow melts, our rivers become dangerously swift with rushing cold water. At lower elevations the river can seem appealing on a hot spring day, but the park urges visitors to enjoy areas of the parks that are away from the rivers.

“Many drownings in the park happen when people walking along the river’s edge slip and fall in,” Chief Ranger Ned Kelleher said, “Please use extreme caution while near the river, avoid slick rocks, unstable banks and areas where you could accidentally fall in.”

Getting in the river or going near it could create a life or death situation. Snow melt is causing creeks and rivers to rise. Even the best swimmers can find themselves in a difficult situation under the current water conditions.

Wilderness Travel
As you plan your early spring trips into the parks’ wilderness, think about how the large snow pack may affect your plans. Some things to expect: challenging route finding, steep snowfields on passes and swift creek crossings. Warmer temperatures are also causing snow to melt and creeks are running high. Avoid walking on areas of unsupported snow (snow bridges), these are often over creeks and rivers, and are very unstable. When these collapse under a person they can be swept away and drown. Observe conditions carefully and then evaluate the risk of crossing. Be prepared to turn back.

Wildlife
It is very important that visitors store food properly and not approach bears of any size. Bears can grab unattended food or easily break into cars. They become bold and sometimes aggressive in attempts to get more. All food or anything with a scent must be stored out of sight in the trunk of a vehicle or a food storage locker, and trash must be disposed of in bear-resistant cans and dumpsters.

In an effort to protect Peregrine nesting, a section of the east face of Moro Rock is closed to rock-climbing from April 1, 2019 to August 15, 2019, between and including, The Couch Trip and Full Metal Jacket routes.

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27

Donnerstag, 9. Mai 2019, 18:56

National Park hears need for deaf tours

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For the first time ever, those who are deaf or have hearing loss will be able to experience the underground wonders of a National Park through a guided tour especially designed for them.
The Sequoia Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service announced it will begin tours for visitors who are deaf or have hearing loss later this month. The Conservancy and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks worked together to create the tour to better serve a wider range of visitors using grant funding from the National Environmental Education Foundation.
The tour contains eight videos in American Sign Language and provides safety information and interpretive descriptions at key points throughout the tour. This is the first tour of its kind in a national park cave. The grant also provided for the purchase of assisted listening devices.
These devices amplify and clarify sound by cutting down or eliminating ambient noise. Headsets with induction neckloops are also available for visitors who use hearing aids and cochlear implants with a “T” switch. These devices are distributed free-of-charge on a first-come, first-served basis. These tours are available to visitors starting on the opening day of Crystal Cave, May 24.
After passing through the iconic spiderweb gate, visitors are welcomed with a brief history of the cave and given an overview of the unique features and formations within. Progressing deeper on paved, lighted pathways, the tour pauses to listen to the water moving about and observe fantastic rooms and formations formed over the last 1.2 million years. At the deepest point of the tour, visitors gather as the lighting is turned off, and they experience the cave in absolute darkness.
Crystal Cave is the second-largest of 300 known caves in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and the fourth largest in California. At just over three miles of surveyed passageway, this remarkable marble cave has been open to the public for tours since 1940.
Sequoia Parks Conservancy is the official nonprofit partner of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and Lake Kaweah, working hand-in-hand with the National Park Service to support projects including trail improvements, educational programs for the public, and the protection of wildlife and their natural habitat.

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28

Freitag, 28. Juni 2019, 19:20

Road Construction Promises To Slow Travel Through Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Parks

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Visitors to Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks in California this summer will find going slow at times as road work along the Generals Highway brings out orange cones and flaggers.
The work, along 16 miles of the Generals Highway that ties the two parks together, will take place the next two years during the summer construction seasons. This year, the expected work consists of drainage improvements and culvert replacements. Work is to begin July 8.
The work is to start at the Generals Highway and Highway 180 junction in Kings Canyon National Park, progressing south along the Generals Highway through Sequoia National Forest, and concluding at Little Baldy Saddle in the northern area of Sequoia National Park. This project will also include repaving the Wolverton Road from the intersection with the Generals Highway to the Wolverton trailhead parking lot, as well as pulverizing and repaving the 16 miles of roadway mentioned above.
All national park and U.S. Forest Service areas along the construction zone will remain open throughout construction. This includes resorts, campgrounds, and organization camps.

Delay Schedule
Delays are expected to be minimal and range up to 30 minutes for the beginning of the 2019 construction season. Delays up to one hour and night closures can be expected as work progresses; the public will be notified as those changes take place.
As work progresses, there may be more than one delay along the 16-mile construction zone, but the combined duration of these delays will not exceed the expected delay times listed in the work schedule. If delay times of up to 30 minutes are specified, it may be three separate 10-minute stops, or just one 30-minute stop.
Work is scheduled Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Up to 30-minute delays. Flaggers will control traffic. Northbound traffic passes first, followed by southbound traffic. No delays expected on weekends and holidays.
For the latest updates on the Generals Highway construction project and delay schedule, visit the parks' construction website.

History of the Generals Highway Construction Project
The Generals Highway was completed in 1935 and is the primary artery through Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. The Generals Highway was a narrow and winding road not designed or constructed for travel by contemporary vehicles. In 1993 the design and reconstruction of the entire 28-mile Generals Highway began and was completed at the end of 2018.

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