Lava Beds National Monument
Lava Beds National Monument is located in northeastern California, in Siskiyou and Modoc counties. The Monument lies on the flank of the Medicine Lake Volcano. The region in and around Lava Beds Monument lies at the junction of the Sierra-Klamath, the Monument was established as a United States National Monument on November 21,1925, and includes more than 46,000 acres. Lava Beds National Monument has numerous lava tube caves, with twenty-five having marked entrances and developed trails for public access, the monument offers trails through the high Great Basin xeric shrubland desert landscape and the volcanic field. 1872–1873, this area was the site of the Modoc War, the area of Captain Jacks Stronghold was named in his honor. Volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created a rugged landscape punctuated by these many landforms of volcanism. Cinder cones are formed when magma is under great pressure and it is released in a fountain of lava, blown into the air from a central vent.
The lava cools as it falls, forming cinders that pile up around the vent, when the pressure has been relieved, the rest of the lava flows from the base of the cone. Cinder cones typically only erupt once, the cinder cones of Hippo Butte, Three Sisters, Juniper Butte, and Crescent Butte are all older than the Mammoth and Modoc Crater flows, more than 30, 000–40,000 years old. Eagle Nest Butte and Bearpaw Butte are 114,000 years old, Schonchin Butte cinder cone and the andesitic flow from its base were formed around 62,000 years ago. The flow that formed Valentine Cave erupted 10,850 years ago, an eruption that formed The Castles is younger than the Mammoth Crater flows. Even younger were eruptions from Fleener Chimneys, such as the Devils Homestead flow,10,500 years ago, about 1,110 years ago, plus or minus 60 years, the Callahan flow was produced by an eruption from Cinder Butte. Though Cinder Butte is just outside the boundary of the monument, spatter cones are built out of thicker lava. The lava is thrown out of the vent and builds, layer by layer, Fleener Chimneys and Black Crater are examples of spatter cones.
Roughly ninety percent of the lava in the Lava Beds Monument is basaltic, there are primarily two kinds of basaltic lava flows, pahoehoe and aa. Pahoehoe is smooth, often ropy and is the most common type of lava in Lava Beds, aa is formed when pahoehoe cools and loses some of its gases. Aa is rough and jagged, an excellent example is the Devils Homestead lava flow, most of the rest of the lava in the monument is andesitic. Pumice, a type of lava, is found covering the monument
Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore is a 71, 028-acre park preserve located on the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County, California. As a national seashore, it is maintained by the US National Park Service as an important nature preserve, some existing agricultural uses are allowed to continue within the park. All of the beaches were listed as the cleanest in the state in 2010. The fact that the peninsula is on a different tectonic plate than the east shore of Tomales Bay produces a difference in soils and therefore to some extent a noticeable difference in vegetation. The even smaller town of Olema, about 3 miles south of Point Reyes Station, serves as the gateway to the Seashore and its visitor center, the peninsula includes wild coastal beaches and headlands and uplands. The Seashore administers the parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation area, such as the Olema Valley, the northernmost part of the peninsula is maintained as a reserve for Tule Elk, which are readily seen there. The preserve is very rich in raptors and shorebirds.
The Point Reyes Lighthouse attracts whale-watchers looking for the Gray Whale migrating south in mid-January, the Point Reyes Lifeboat Station is a National Historic Landmark. It is the last remaining example of a rail launched lifeboat station that was common on the Pacific coast and this encompasses 5,965 acres along the coast of Drakes Bay. Kule Loklo, a recreated Coast Miwok village, is a walk from the visitor center. The Point Reyes National Seashore attracts 2.5 million visitors annually, hostelling International USA maintains a 45-bed youth hostel at the Seashore. Point Reyes National Seashore Association, formed in 1964, collaborates with the Seashore on maintenance, like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems. A large shellfish farm raising Japanese oysters, Crassostrea gigas, was located in Drakes Estero until, under court order, Court appeals to keep the operation in place were dropped in December,2014. The farm was purchased by the National Park Service in 1972, a federal law enacted in 2009 authorized, but did not require, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to renew the permit.
The NPS and conservation groups viewed the farm as an inappropriate and environmentally-insensitive use of the estero, the farms supporters argued that it was not ecologically harmful and was important to the local economy. Salazar visited the farm the previous week and phoned the farms owner to give him the news. The oyster farm closure was challenged in U. S. District Court on January 25,2013, the challenge was rejected by a federal court judge, who ruled that the law gave Salazar unfettered discretion to approve or deny a renewal of the permit. The California Coastal Commission voted on February 7,2013 to unanimously approve cease and desist, an attempt to have the appeals court rehear the case was rejected on January 14,2014 and a petition to the United States Supreme Court was denied on June 30,2014
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is a national park in the United States. Straddling the border of California and Nevada, located east of the Sierra Nevada, the park protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, valleys and mountains. It is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and has declared an International Biosphere Reserve. Approximately 91% of the park is a wilderness area. It is the hottest and lowest of the parks in the United States. The second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is in Badwater Basin, the park is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment. Some examples include creosote bush, bighorn sheep and the Death Valley pupfish, several short-lived boom towns sprang up during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to mine gold and silver. The only long-term profitable ore to be mined was borax, which was transported out of the valley with twenty-mule teams, the valley became the subject of books, radio programs, television series, and movies.
Tourism blossomed in the 1920s, when resorts were built around Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley National Monument was declared in 1933 and the park was substantially expanded and became a national park in 1994. The natural environment of the area has been shaped largely by its geology, the valley itself is actually a graben. The oldest rocks are metamorphosed and at least 1.7 billion years old. Ancient, shallow seas deposited marine sediments until rifting opened the Pacific Ocean, additional sedimentation occurred until a subduction zone formed off the coast. This uplifted the region out of the sea and created a line of volcanoes, the crust started to pull apart, creating the current Basin and Range landform. Valleys filled with sediment and, during the wet times of glacial periods, with lakes, in 2013, Death Valley National Park was designated as a dark sky park by the International Dark-Sky Association. There are two valleys in the park, Death Valley and Panamint Valley. Both of these valleys were formed within the last few million years, the result of this shearing action is additional extension in the central part of Death Valley which causes a slight widening and more subsidence there.
Uplift of surrounding mountain ranges and subsidence of the floor are both occurring. The uplift on the Black Mountains is so fast that the fans there are small
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow estuary in the U. S. state of California. It is surrounded by a region known as the San Francisco Bay Area, dominated by the large cities San Francisco, Oakland. San Francisco Bay drains water from approximately 40 percent of California and it connects to the Pacific Ocean via the Golden Gate strait. However, this group of interconnected bays is often called the San Francisco Bay. The bay was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance on February 2,2013, the bay covers somewhere between 400 and 1,600 square miles, depending on which sub-bays, wetlands, and so on are included in the measurement. The main part of the bay measures 3 to 12 miles wide east-to-west and it is the largest Pacific estuary in the Americas. Later and inlets were filled in, reducing the Bays size since the mid-19th century by as much as one third. Recently, large areas of wetlands have been restored, further confusing the issue of the Bays size, despite its value as a waterway and harbor, many thousands of acres of marshy wetlands at the edges of the bay were, for many years, considered wasted space.
As a result, soil excavated for building projects or dredged from channels was often dumped onto the wetlands, from the mid-19th century through the late 20th century, more than a third of the original bay was filled and often built on. The idea was, and remains, there are five large islands in San Francisco Bay. Alameda, the largest island, was created when a shipping lane was cut in 1901 and it is now predominantly a bedroom community. Angel Island was known as Ellis Island West because it served as the point for immigrants from East Asia. It is now a park accessible by ferry. Mountainous Yerba Buena Island is pierced by a tunnel linking the east and west spans of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, attached to the north is the artificial and flat Treasure Island, site of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. From the Second World War until the 1990s, both served as military bases and are now being redeveloped. Isolated in the center of the Bay is Alcatraz, the site of the federal penitentiary.
The federal prison on Alcatraz Island no longer functions, but the complex is a popular tourist site, despite its name, Mare Island in the northern part of the bay is a peninsula rather than an island. During the last ice age, the now filled by the bay was a large linear valley with small hills
State parks are parks or other protected areas managed at the sub-national level within those nations which use state as a political subdivision. State parks are established by a state to preserve a location on account of its natural beauty, historic interest. There are state parks under the administration of the government of each U. S. state, some of the Mexican states, the term is used in the Australian state of Victoria. The equivalent term used in Canada, South Africa, similar systems of local government maintained parks exist in other countries, but the terminology varies. State parks are thus similar to parks, but under state rather than federal administration. Similarly, local government entities below state level may maintain parks, in general, state parks are smaller than national parks, with a few exceptions such as the Adirondack Park in New York and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California. As of 2014, there were 10,234 state park units in the United States, there are some 739 million annual visits to the countrys state parks.
The NASPD further counts over 43,000 miles of trail,217,367 campsites, many states include designations beyond state park in their state parks systems. Other designations might be state recreation areas, state beaches, some state park systems include long-distance trails and historic sites. The title of oldest state park in the United States is claimed by Niagara Falls State Park in New York, however several public parks previously or currently maintained at the state level pre-date it. Indian Springs State Park has been operated continuously by the state of Georgia as a park since 1825. In 1864 Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove were ceded by the government to California until Yosemite National Park was proclaimed in 1890. In 1878 Wisconsin set aside a vast swath of its forests as The State Park but, needing money. The first state park with the designation of state park was Mackinac Island State Park in 1895, list of U. S. state parks National Association of State Park Directors Wilderness preservation systems in the United States Ahlgren, Carol.
The Civilian Conservation Corps and Wisconsin State Park Development, the State Park Movement in America, A Critical Review excerpt and text search Larson, Zeb. Silver Falls State Park and the Early Environmental Movement, oregon Historical Quarterly 112#1 pp, 34-57 in JSTOR Newton, Norman T. When Forests Trumped Parks, The Maryland Experience, 1906-1950, Maryland Historical Magazine 101#2 pp, 203-224
California is the most populous state in the United States and the third most extensive by area. Located on the western coast of the U. S, California is bordered by the other U. S. states of Oregon and Arizona and shares an international border with the Mexican state of Baja California. Los Angeles is Californias most populous city, and the second largest after New York City. The Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nations second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, California has the nations most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The Central Valley, an agricultural area, dominates the states center. What is now California was first settled by various Native American tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries, the Spanish Empire claimed it as part of Alta California in their New Spain colony. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its war for independence.
The western portion of Alta California was organized as the State of California, the California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom. If it were a country, California would be the 6th largest economy in the world, fifty-eight percent of the states economy is centered on finance, real estate services and professional, scientific and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5 percent of the states economy, the story of Calafia is recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián, written as a sequel to Amadis de Gaula by Spanish adventure writer Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. The kingdom of Queen Calafia, according to Montalvo, was said to be a land inhabited by griffins and other strange beasts. This conventional wisdom that California was an island, with maps drawn to reflect this belief, shortened forms of the states name include CA, Cal. Calif. and US-CA.
Settled by successive waves of arrivals during the last 10,000 years, various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000. The Indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior. California groups were diverse in their organization with bands, villages. Trade and military alliances fostered many social and economic relationships among the diverse groups, the first European effort to explore the coast as far north as the Russian River was a Spanish sailing expedition, led by Portuguese captain Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, in 1542. Some 37 years English explorer Francis Drake explored and claimed a portion of the California coast in 1579. Spanish traders made unintended visits with the Manila galleons on their trips from the Philippines beginning in 1565
Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in Californias Owens Valley between the towns of Lone Pine to the south and Independence to the north, it is approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles. Long before the first incarcerees arrived in March 1942, Manzanar was home to Native Americans and miners formally established the town of Manzanar in 1910, but abandoned the town by 1929 after the City of Los Angeles purchased the water rights to virtually the entire area. As different as these groups were, their histories displayed a common thread of forced relocation, the primary focus is the Japanese American incarceration era, as specified in the legislation that created the Manzanar National Historic Site. The site interprets the former town of Manzanar, the days, the settlement by the Owens Valley Paiute. Let us review the main points of the debate, over 120,000 residents of the U. S. A. two thirds of whom were American citizens, were incarcerated under armed guard. There were no crimes committed, no trials, and no convictions, to detain American citizens in a site under armed guard surely constitutes a concentration camp.
But what were the used by the government officials who were involved in the process. Raymond Okamura provides us with a detailed list of terms, lets consider three such euphemisms, evacuation and non-aliens. Earthquake and flood victims are evacuated and relocated, the words refer to moving people in order to rescue and protect them from danger. The official government policy makers consistently used evacuation to refer to the removal of the Japanese Americans. These are euphemisms as the terms do not imply forced removal nor incarceration in enclosures patrolled by armed guards. Hirabayashi went on to describe the harm done by the use of such euphemisms, the harm in continuing to use the governments euphemisms is that it disguises or softens the reality which subsequently has been legally recognized as a grave error. The actions abrogated some fundamental principles underlying the Constitution, the document under which we govern ourselves. This erosion of fundamental rights has consequences for all citizens of our society, some have argued that the Nazi Germany camps during the Holocaust were concentration camps and to refer to the Japanese American camps likewise would be an affront to the Jews.
It is certainly true that the Japanese Americans did not suffer the fate of the Jews in the terrible concentration camps or death camps where Nazi Germany practiced a policy of genocide. Although the loss of life was minimal in Americas concentration camps and Walter Weglyns research concerning Nazi Germanys euphemisms for their concentration camps revealed such phrases as protective custody camps, reception centers, and transit camps. Ironically, two Nazi euphemisms were identical to our governments usage, assembly centers and relocation centers and it might be well to point out, that the Nazis were not operating under the U. S. Constitution. Comparisons usually neglect to point out that Hitler was operating under the rules of the Third Reich
Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles is managed by the National Park Service and the majority of the park is protected as wilderness. The national park is divided by the formations into East and West Divisions, connected by foot trails. The east side has shade and water, the west has high walls, the rock formations provide for spectacular pinnacles that attract rock climbers. The park features unusual talus caves that house at least thirteen species of bat, Pinnacles is most often visited in spring or fall because of the intense heat during the summer months. Park lands are prime habitat for prairie falcons, and are a site for California condors that have been hatched in captivity. Pinnacles National Monument was established in 1908 by U. S. President Theodore Roosevelt, Pinnacles National Park was created from the former Pinnacles National Monument by legislation passed by Congress in late 2012 and signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 10,2013. Native Americans in the Pinnacles region comprised the Chalon and Mutsun groups of the Ohlone people and these native people declined with the arrival of the Spanish in the 18th century, who brought novel diseases and changes to the natives way of life.
The last Chalon had died or departed from the area by 1810, from 1810 to 1865, when the first Anglo-American settlers arrived, the Pinnacles region was a wilderness without human use or habitation. The establishment of a Spanish mission at Soledad hastened the areas native depopulation through disease, archaeological surveys have found thirteen sites inhabited by Native Americans, twelve of which post-date the establishment of the missions. One site is believed to be about 2000 years old, by the 1880s the Pinnacles, known as the Palisades, were visited by picnickers from the surrounding communities who would explore the caves and camp. The first account of the Pinnacles region appeared in print in 1881, between 1889 and 1891, newspaper articles shifted from describing excursions to the Palisades to calling them the Pinnacles. Interest in the rose to the point that the Hollister Free Lance sent a reporter to the Pinnacles. Investors came from San Francisco to consider placing a hotel there. In 1894 a post office was established in Bear Valley, since there was at least one other Bear Valley in California, the post office was named Cook after Mrs.
Hains maiden name. In 1924 the post office was renamed Pinnacles, Schuyler Hain was a homesteader who arrived in the Pinnacles area in 1891 from Michigan, following his parents and eight siblings to Bear Valley. White, was a student at Stanford University, and White brought one of his professors to see the Pinnacles in 1893, dr. Gilbert was impressed by the scenery, and his comments inspired Hain to publicize the region. Hain led tours to Bear Valley and through the caves, advocating the preservation of the Pinnacles, Hains efforts resulted in a 1904 visit by Stanford president David Starr Jordan, who contacted Fresno Congressman James C. Jordan and Needham in turn influenced Gifford Pinchot to advocate the establishment of the Pinnacles Forest Reserve to President Theodore Roosevelt, Roosevelt proclaimed the establishment on July 8,1906
Redwood National and State Parks
The Redwood National and State Parks are old-growth temperate rainforests located in the United States, along the coast of northern California. Comprising Redwood National Park and Californias Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks, the combined RNSP contain 139,000 acres. Located entirely within Del Norte and Humboldt Counties, the four parks, protect 45% of all remaining coast redwood old-growth forests and these trees are the tallest and one of the most massive tree species on Earth. In addition to the forests, the parks preserve other indigenous flora, grassland prairie, cultural resources, portions of rivers and other streams. In 1850, old-growth redwood forest covered more than 2,000,000 acres of the California coast, the northern portion of that area, originally inhabited by Native Americans, attracted many lumbermen and others turned gold miners when a minor gold rush brought them to the region. Failing in efforts to strike it rich in gold, these men turned toward harvesting the giant trees for booming development in San Francisco, after many decades of unrestricted clear-cut logging, serious efforts toward conservation began.
Redwood National Park was created in 1968, by which time nearly 90% of the redwood trees had been logged. The ecosystem of the RNSP preserves a number of threatened species such as the tidewater goby, Chinook salmon, northern spotted owl. Modern day native groups such as the Yurok, Karok and Wiyot all have ties to the region. Archaeological study shows they arrived in the area as far back as 3,000 years ago, an 1852 census determined that the Yurok were the most numerous, with 55 villages and an estimated population of 2,500. They used the abundant redwood, which with its grain was easily split into planks, as a building material for boats, houses. For buildings, the planks would be erected side by side in a trench, with the upper portions bound with leather strapping. Redwood boards were used to form a sloping roof. Previous to Jedediah Smith in 1828, no other explorer of European descent is known to have investigated the inland region away from the immediate coast. The discovery of gold along the Trinity River in 1850 led to a secondary rush in California.
This brought miners into the area and many stayed on at the coast after failing to strike it rich and this quickly led to conflicts wherein native peoples were placed under great strain, if not forcibly removed or massacred. By 1895, only one third of the Yurok in one group of villages remained, by 1919, the miners logged redwoods for building, when this minor gold rush ended, some of them turned again to logging, cutting down the giant redwood trees. Representative John E. Raker, of California, became the first politician to introduce legislation for the creation of a national park
National Park Service
It was created on August 25,1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. As of 2014, the NPS employs 21,651 employees who oversee 417 units, the National Park Service celebrated its centennial in 2016. National parks and national monuments in the United States were originally individually managed under the auspices of the Department of the Interior, the movement for an independent agency to oversee these federal lands was spearheaded by business magnate and conservationist Stephen Mather, as well as J. Horace McFarland. With the help of journalist Robert Sterling Yard, Mather ran a publicity campaign for the Department of the Interior and they wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic and historic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational and recreational benefits. This campaign resulted in the creation of a National Park Service, Mather became the first director of the newly formed NPS.
On March 3,1933, President Herbert Hoover signed the Reorganization Act of 1933, the act would allow the President to reorganize the executive branch of the United States government. It wasnt until that summer when the new President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Roosevelt agreed and issued two Executive orders to make it happen. In 1951, Conrad Wirth became director of the National Park Service, the demand for parks after the end of the World War II had left the parks overburdened with demands that could not be met. In 1952, with the support of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he began Mission 66, New parks were added to preserve unique resources and existing park facilities were upgraded and expanded. In 1966, as the Park Service turned 50 years old, emphasis began to turn from just saving great and wonderful scenery, Director George Hartzog began the process with the creation of the National Lakeshores and National Recreation Areas. Since its inception in 1916, the National Park Service has managed each of the United States national parks, Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States.
In 1872, there was no government to manage it. Yosemite National Park began as a park, the land for the park was donated by the federal government to the state of California in 1864 for perpetual conservation. Yosemite was returned to federal ownership, at first, each national park was managed independently, with varying degrees of success. In Yellowstone, the staff was replaced by the U. S. Army in 1886. Due to the irregularities in managing these national treasures, Stephen Mather petitioned the government to improve the situation. In response, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane challenged him to lobby for creating a new agency, Mather was successful with the ratification of the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. Later, the agency was given authority over other protected areas, the National Park System includes all properties managed by the National Park Service
San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural and financial center of Northern California. It is the birthplace of the United Nations, the California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in 1856, after three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. In World War II, San Francisco was a port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater. Politically, the city votes strongly along liberal Democratic Party lines, San Francisco is the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Levi Strauss & Co. Dolby, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Pinterest, Uber, Mozilla, Wikimedia Foundation, as of 2016, San Francisco is ranked high on world liveability rankings.
The earliest archaeological evidence of habitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC. Upon independence from Spain in 1821, the became part of Mexico. Under Mexican rule, the system gradually ended, and its lands became privatized. In 1835, Englishman William Richardson erected the first independent homestead, together with Alcalde Francisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, and the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers. Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States on July 7,1846, during the Mexican–American War, montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco on January 30 of the next year, despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography. The California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers, with their sourdough bread in tow, prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia, raising the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849.
The promise of fabulous riches was so strong that crews on arriving vessels deserted and rushed off to the gold fields, leaving behind a forest of masts in San Francisco harbor. Some of these approximately 500 abandoned ships were used at times as storeships and hotels, many were left to rot, by 1851 the harbor was extended out into the bay by wharves while buildings were erected on piles among the ships. By 1870 Yerba Buena Cove had been filled to create new land, buried ships are occasionally exposed when foundations are dug for new buildings. California was quickly granted statehood in 1850 and the U. S. military built Fort Point at the Golden Gate, silver discoveries, including the Comstock Lode in Nevada in 1859, further drove rapid population growth. With hordes of fortune seekers streaming through the city, lawlessness was common, and the Barbary Coast section of town gained notoriety as a haven for criminals, entrepreneurs sought to capitalize on the wealth generated by the Gold Rush
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, in the United States. It was established on September 25,1890, the park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park, the two are administered by the National Park Service together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. They were designated the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976, the park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which five out of the ten largest trees in the world. The Giant Forest is connected by the Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Parks General Grant Grove, the parks giant sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Indeed, the preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement. Many park visitors enter Sequoia National Park through its entrance near the town of Three Rivers at Ash Mountain at 1,700 ft elevation.
The last California grizzly was killed in this park in 1922, the California Black Oak is a key transition species between the chaparral and higher elevation conifer forest. At higher elevations in the front country, between 5,500 and 9,000 feet in elevation, the landscape becomes montane forest-dominated coniferous belt, found here are Ponderosa, Jeffrey and lodgepole pine trees, as well as abundant white and red fir. Found here too are the giant sequoia trees, the most massive living single-stem trees on earth, between the trees and summer snowmelts sometimes fan out to form lush, though delicate, meadows. In this region, visitors often see deer, Douglas squirrels, and American black bears. There are plans to reintroduce the bighorn sheep to this park, the vast majority of the park is roadless wilderness, no road crosses the Sierra Nevada within the parks boundaries. 84 percent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is designated wilderness and is only by foot or by horseback. Sequoias backcountry offers a vast expanse of high-alpine wonders, covering the highest-elevation region of the High Sierra, the backcountry includes Mount Whitney on the eastern border of the park, accessible from the Giant Forest via the High Sierra Trail.
On the floor of canyon, at least two days hike from the nearest road, is the Kern Canyon hot spring, a popular resting point for weary backpackers. From the floor of Kern Canyon, the trail ascends again over 8,000 ft to the summit of Mount Whitney, in the summertime, Native Americans would travel over the high mountain passes to trade with tribes to the East. By the time the first European settlers arrived in the area, smallpox had spread to the region. The first European settler to homestead in the area was Hale Tharp, Tharp allowed his cattle to graze the meadow, but at the same time had a respect for the grandeur of the forest and led early battles against logging in the area