The Kaweah River is a river draining the southern Sierra Nevada in Tulare County, California in the United States. Fed by high elevation snowmelt along the Great Western Divide, the Kaweah begins as four forks in Sequoia National Park, where the watershed is noted for its alpine scenery and its dense concentrations of giant sequoias, the largest trees on Earth, it flows in a southwest direction to Lake Kaweah – the only major reservoir on the river – and into the San Joaquin Valley, where it diverges into multiple channels across an alluvial plain around Visalia. With its Middle Fork headwaters starting at 13,000 feet above sea level, the river has a vertical drop of nearly two and a half miles on its short run to the San Joaquin Valley, making it one of the steepest river drainages in the United States. Although the main stem of the Kaweah is only 33.6 miles long, its total length including headwaters and lower branches is nearly 100 miles. The lower course of the river and its many distributaries – including the St. John's River and Mill Creek – form the Kaweah Delta, a productive agricultural region spanning more than 300,000 acres.
Before the diversion of its waters for irrigation, the river flowed into Tulare Lake, the now dry terminal sink of a large endorheic basin in the southern San Joaquin Valley fed by the Kern and Tule Rivers and southern branches of the Kings River. The name "Kaweah" comes from a native Yokutsan word meaning "crow cry"; the Yokuts and Western Mono are the main Native American groups in the Kaweah River basin, explored by the Spanish in the early 1800s and logged after the 1850s by American colonists, before its upper reaches became part of Sequoia National Park in 1890. The Kaweah River originates along the Great Western Divide, a chain of 13,000-foot peaks in the middle of Sequoia National Park; the divide separates the Kaweah drainage from the Kern River drainage to the east. The Middle Fork, sometimes considered part of the main stem, flows southwest from the confluence of Lone Pine Creek and Hamilton Creek, whose lake sources lie at or above 12,000 feet in the Mount Stewart area; the Marble Fork begins in a high plateau area known as the Tableland and drops 1,200 feet over a glacial headwall, forming Tokopah Falls, before flowing west past Lodgepole Village and turning south.
The two forks join at the bottom of a deep gorge directly below Moro Rock to form the main stem of the Kaweah River. The Kaweah River flows in a southwest direction, paralleled by Highway 198 in its narrow canyon. A short distance outside Sequoia National Park it picks up the East Fork, which originates above 9,000 feet elevation in the Mineral King valley, from the left, it continues past the town of Three Rivers, where it receives the North Fork, which begins in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park. The South Fork enters from the left before the river empties into Lake Kaweah, the reservoir formed by Terminus Dam in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Terminus Dam, a 255-foot high earthfill dam, has the primary purpose of flood control but supplies water for irrigation and hydroelectricity. Below the dam the Kaweah River passes Lemon Cove, receives Dry Creek from the right and flows into the San Joaquin Valley where it divides into several major distributaries. At the McKay Point Dam, the St. John's River splits off to the northwest, making a wide loop around Visalia before becoming Cross Creek north of Goshen, from where it flows south.
The main channel of the Kaweah River continues to the southwest through farmland, with Outside Creek and Deep Creek splitting to the south before the Kaweah itself divides into Mill Creek and Packwood Creek. Mill Creek continues westward through Visalia, Packwood Creek skirts to the south of the city, terminating in a small flood control basin. Mill Creek ends at a confluence with Cross Creek, which flows southward to the old Tulare Lake bed near Corcoran, joining a channel carrying water from the Tule River; the Kaweah Delta region, as defined by the Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District, covers about 340,000 acres in Tulare and Kings Counties. The length of the Kaweah River is 33.6 miles between the confluence of the Middle and Marble Forks and the bifurcation of Mill and Packwood Creeks. However, including its tributaries and distributaries, the river is much longer. Mill Creek flows westward for a total distance of 58.7 miles. Including the upstream Middle Fork, long, the length of Cross Creek below Mill Creek, 21.7 miles, some water in the Kaweah system flows 95 miles from the head of the Middle Fork to the Tulare Lake bed.
Most of the Kaweah River's runoff comes from the mountain watershed above Visalia, which covers a total of 658 square miles. Including all the lands drained and crossed by the river's many distributaries down to the Tulare Lake bed, the Kaweah River hydrologic region covers 1,523 square miles; the annual runoff of the Kaweah River between 1975 and 1995 was 443,000 acre feet, or about 600 cubic feet per second. The river's highest flows are during the peak snowmelt months of June. Most of the water is diverted above Visalia for groundwater recharge. With the exception of agricultural wastewater, water flows any further downstream except in wet years. Large storms can
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, in Fresno and Tulare Counties, California. Established in 1890 as General Grant National Park, the park was expanded and renamed to Kings Canyon National Park on March 4, 1940; the park's namesake, Kings Canyon, is a rugged glacier-carved valley more than a mile deep. Other natural features include multiple 14,000-foot peaks, high mountain meadows, swift-flowing rivers, some of the world's largest stands of giant sequoia trees. Kings Canyon is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park, the two are jointly administered by the National Park Service as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks; the majority of the 461,901-acre park, drained by the Middle and South Forks of the Kings River and many smaller streams, is designated wilderness. Tourist facilities are concentrated in two areas: Grant Grove, home to General Grant and Cedar Grove, located in the heart of Kings Canyon. Overnight hiking is required to access most of the park's backcountry, or high country, which for much of the year is covered in deep snow.
The combined Pacific Crest Trail/John Muir Trail, a backpacking route, traverses the entire length of the park from north to south. General Grant National Park was created to protect a small area of giant sequoias from logging. Although John Muir's visits brought public attention to the huge wilderness area to the east, it took more than fifty years for the rest of Kings Canyon to be designated a national park. Environmental groups, park visitors and many local politicians wanted to see the area preserved. After President Franklin D. Roosevelt expanded the park in 1940, the fight continued until 1965, when the Cedar Grove and Tehipite Valley dam sites were annexed into the park; as visitation rose post–World War II, further debate took place over whether the park should be developed as a tourist resort, or retained as a more natural environment restricted to simpler recreation such as hiking and camping. The preservation lobby prevailed and today, the park has only limited services and lodgings despite its size.
Due to this and the lack of road access to most of the park, Kings Canyon remains the least visited of the major Sierra parks, with just under 700,000 visitors in 2017 compared to 1.3 million visitors at Sequoia and over 4 million at Yosemite. Kings Canyon National Park, located on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada to the east of the San Joaquin Valley, is divided into two distinct sections; the smaller and older western section centers around Grant Grove – home of many of the park's sequoias – and has most of the visitor facilities. The larger eastern section, which accounts for the majority of the park's area, is entirely wilderness, contains the deep canyons of the Middle and South Forks of the Kings River. Cedar Grove, located at the bottom of the Kings Canyon, is the only part of the park's vast eastern portion accessible by road. Although most of the park is forested, much of the eastern section consists of alpine regions above the tree line. Snow free only from late June until late October, the high country is accessible via foot and horse trails.
The Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness encompasses over 768,000 acres in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, or nearly 90 percent of their combined area. In addition to Sequoia National Park on the south, Kings Canyon is surrounded by multiple national forests and wilderness areas; the Sierra National Forest, Sequoia National Forest and Inyo National Forest border it on the northwest and east, respectively. The John Muir Wilderness wraps around much of the northern half of the park, the Monarch Wilderness preserves much of the area between the park's two sections. Kings Canyon is characterized by some of the steepest vertical relief in North America, with numerous peaks over 14,000 feet on the Sierra Crest along the park's eastern border, falling to 4,500 feet in the valley floor of Cedar Grove just ten miles to the west; the Sierran crest forms the eastern boundary of the park, from Mount Goethe in the north, down to Junction Peak, at the boundary with Sequoia National Park. Several passes cross the crest into the park, including Bishop Pass, Taboose Pass, Sawmill Pass, Kearsarge Pass.
All of these passes are above 11,000 feet in elevation. There are several prominent subranges of the Sierra around the park; the Palisades, along the park's eastern boundary, have four peaks over 14,000 feet including the highest point in the park, 14,248 feet NAVD 88 at the summit of North Palisade. The Great Western Divide extends through the south-central part of the park and has many peaks over 13,000 feet, including Mount Brewer; the Monarch Divide, stretching between the lower Middle and South Forks of the Kings, has some of the most inaccessible terrain in the entire park. In the northwest section of the park are other steep and rugged ranges such as the Goddard Divide, LeConte Divide and Black Divide, all of which are dotted with high mountain lakes and separated by deep chasms. Most of the mountains and canyons, as in other parts of the Sierra Nevada, are formed in igneous intrusive rocks such as granite and monzonite, formed at least 100 million years ago due to subduction along the North American–Pacific Plate boundary.
However, the Sierra itself is a young mountain range, no more than 10 million years old. Huge tectonic forces along the western edge of the Great Basin forced the local crustal block to tilt and uplift, crea
History of California's state highway system
The state highway system in the U. S. state of California dates back to 1896, when the state took over maintenance of the Lake Tahoe Wagon Road. Construction of a large connected system began in 1912, after the state's voters approved an $18 million bond issue for over 3000 miles of highways; the last large addition was made by the California State Assembly in 1959, after which only minor changes have been made. The first state road was authorized on March 26, 1895, when a law created the post of "Lake Tahoe Wagon Road Commissioner" to maintain the Lake Tahoe Wagon Road, now US 50 from Smith Flat - 3 miles east of Placerville - to the Nevada state line; the 58 mile road had been operated as a toll road until 1886. Funding was only enough for minimal improvements, including a stone bridge over the South Fork American River in 1901. In 1895, on March 27, the legislature created the three-person Bureau of Highways to coordinate efforts by the counties to build good roads; the bureau traveled to every county of the state in 1895 and 1896 and prepared a map of a recommended system of state roads, which they submitted to the governor on November 25, 1896.
The legislature replaced the Bureau of Highways with the Department of Highways on April 1, 1897, three days after it passed a law creating a second state highway from Sacramento to Folsom - another part of what became US 50 - to be maintained by three "Folsom Highway Commissioners". This was the last highway maintained by a separate authority, as the next state road, the Mono Lake Basin State Road, was designated by the legislature in 1899 to be built and maintained by the Department of Highways. Several more state highways were legislated in the next decade, the legislature passed a law creating the Department of Engineering on March 11, 1907; this new department, in addition to non-highway duties, was to maintain all state highways, including the Lake Tahoe Wagon Road. On March 22, 1909 the "State Highways Act" was passed, taking effect on December 31, 1910 after a successful vote by the people of the state in November; this law authorized the Department of Engineering to issue $18 million in bonds for a "continuous and connected state highway system" that would connect all county seats.
To this end, the department created the three-member California Highway Commission on August 8, 1911 to take full charge of the construction and maintenance of this system. As with the 1896 plan by the Bureau of Highways, the Highway Commission traveled the state to determine the best routes, which ended up stretching about 3100 miles. Construction began in mid-1912, with groundbreaking on Contract One - now part of SR 82 in San Mateo County - on August 7. Noteworthy portions of the system built by the commission included the Ridge Route in southern California and the Yolo Causeway west from Sacramento; because the first bond issue did not provide enough funding, the "State Highways Act of 1915" was approved by the legislature on May 20, 1915 and the voters in November 1916, taking effect on December 31. This gave the Department of Engineering an additional $12 million to complete the original system and $3 million for a further 680 miles specified by the law. At this time, each route was assigned a number from 1 to 34.
In 1917, the legislature gave the California Highway Commission statutory recognition, turned over the 750 miles of roads adopted by legislative act, until maintained by the State Engineer, to the commission. Where not serving as extensions of existing routes, these - and routes subsequently added legislatively in 1917 and 1919 - were given numbers from 35 to 45. A third bond issue was approved by the voters at a special election on July 1, 1919, provided $20 million more for the existing routes and the same amount for new extensions totaling about 1800 miles, adding Routes 46 to 64 to the system; the three bond issues together totaled 5560 miles, of which just over 40% was completed or under construction in mid-1920. The Department of Engineering became part of the new Department of Public Works in 1921, the California Highway Commission was separated as its own department in 1923. In order to pay for the roads, a 2-cent per gallon gasoline tax was approved in 1923; the legislature continued to add highways to the system, including the Mother Lode Highway in 1921 and the Arrowhead Trail in 1925.
In January 1928, the California State Automobile Association and Automobile Club of Southern California, placing guide and warning signs along state highways, marked the U. S. Highways along several of the most major state highways; the California Toll Bridge Authority was created in 1929 to acquire and operate all toll bridges on state highways, including the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge and Carquinez Bridge. After 1927 and 1929, in which no highways were added to the system, the legislature authorized the construction of 23 new routes in 1931, which were numbered from 72 to 80 when not forming extensions of existing routes. Two years another 213 sections of highway were added doubling the total length of state highways to about 14000 miles. Many of these new routes, as well as a number of existing routes, were incorporated into the initial system of state sign routes in 1934 posted by the auto clubs; the Division of Highways took over signage on stat
General Sherman (tree)
General Sherman is a giant sequoia tree located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, in the U. S. state of California. By volume, it is the largest known living single-stem tree on Earth. While the General Sherman is the largest living tree, it is not the largest historically-recorded tree; the Crannell Creek Giant, a coast redwood near Trinidad, California, is estimated to have been 15 to 25% larger than the General Sherman tree by volume. That tree was cut down in the mid-1940s. Another larger coast redwood, near 90,000 cubic feet, the Lindsey Creek tree, was reported in a 1905 Humboldt Times Standard article; the General Sherman was named after the American Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman, in 1879 by naturalist James Wolverton, who had served as a lieutenant in the 9th Indiana Cavalry under Sherman. In 1931, following comparisons with the nearby General Grant tree, General Sherman was identified as the largest tree in the world. One result of this process was that wood volume became accepted as the standard for establishing and comparing the size of different trees.
In January 2006 the largest branch on the tree broke off. There were no witnesses to the incident, the branch — larger than most tree trunks; the breakage is not believed to be indicative of any abnormalities in the tree's health, may be a natural defense mechanism against adverse weather conditions. While it is the largest tree known, the General Sherman Tree is neither the tallest known living tree on Earth, nor is it the widest, nor is it the oldest known living tree on Earth. With a height of 83.8 meters, a diameter of 7.7 m, an estimated bole volume of 1,487 m3, an estimated age of 2,300–2,700 years, it is among the tallest and longest-lived of all trees on the planet. List of largest giant sequoias List of superlative trees List of trees List of oldest trees National Register of Big Trees "What is the largest tree in the world?" Video of a park ranger at Sequoia National Park explaining details about the General Sherman Tree Norton, Marc. "The Karl Marx Tree: How Southern Pacific Railroad killed a socialist colony in the name of creating Yosemite National Park," Red Hills, August 27, 2014
Hospital Rock (Three Rivers, California)
Hospital Rock is a large quartzite rock in Sequoia National Park, located just off of the Generals Highway, on the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River. Hospital Rock was once home to 500 Potwisha Native Americans. Archaeological evidence shows settlement as early as 1350, bedrock mortar sites and petroglyphs remain; the Native Americans used this site in the winter months. In 1860, Hale Tharp and his brother-in-law, John Swanson, were exploring the Giant Forest when Swanson sustained an injury to his leg. Swanson was transported to the locale. Hale Tharp gave the spot its name after a second similar incident. In 1873, James Everton recovered from a gunshot wound at the site, he had been injured by a shotgun snare set to trap bear. Hospital Rock is a public archaeological site that now features a parking picnic area. A short trail was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps that leads to a waterfall nearby
Visalia is a city situated in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley of California 230 miles southeast of San Francisco, 190 miles north of Los Angeles, 36 miles west of Sequoia National Park and 43 miles south of Fresno. The population was 130,104 as of a 2015 U. S. Census Bureau estimate. Visalia is the 5th largest city in the San Joaquin Valley after Fresno, Bakersfield and Modesto; as the county seat of Tulare County, Visalia serves as the economic and governmental center to one of the most productive single agricultural counties in the country. Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks are located in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains, the highest mountain range in the contiguous United States; the area around Visalia was first settled by the Yokuts and Mono Native American tribes hundreds of years ago. It is unknown when the first Europeans arrived, but the first to make a written record of the area was Pedro Fages in 1722; when California achieved statehood in 1850, Tulare County did not exist.
The land, now Tulare County was part of the huge County of Mariposa. In 1852, some pioneers settled in the area called Four Creeks; the area got its name from the many watershed creeks and rivers flowing from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. All the water resulted in a widespread swampy area with a magnificent oak forest; the industrious group of settlers petitioned the state legislature for county status and on July 10 of that same year, Tulare County became a reality. One of the first inhabitants of a fort built by the settlers was Nathaniel Vise. Nathaniel was responsible for surveying the new settlement. In November 1852, he wrote, "The town contains from 60–80 inhabitants, 30 of whom are children of school age; the town is located upon one of the subdivisions of the Kaweah River and is destined to be the county seat of Tulare." In 1853, that prediction became Visalia has remained the county seat since that time. Visalia is named for Nathaniel Vise's ancestral home, Kentucky. Early growth in Visalia can be attributed in part to the gold rush along the Kern River.
The gold fever brought many transient miners through Visalia along the way and when the lure of gold failed to materialize, many returned to Visalia to live their lives and raise families. In 1859 Visalia was added to John Butterfield's Overland Stage route from St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco. A plaque commemorating the location can be found at 116 East Main Street. Included in the early crop of citizens were some notorious and nasty individuals who preyed upon the travelers along the Butterfield Stage route. Many saloons and hotels sprouted up around the stage stop downtown and commerce was brisk if a bit risky; the next memorable event was the arrival of the telegraph in 1860. Visalians could get timely information of the events taking place on the East Coast which would develop into the American Civil War. During the Civil War, many citizens of Visalia couldn't decide whether Visalia should stand on the side of the North or the South, so they had a Mini Civil War of their own on Main Street.
No one knows the outcome of the war, but it was concluded to the satisfaction of the participants and life returned to normal. The federal government, was not so convinced, reacting to concern about sedition, banned Visalia's pro-South Equal Rights Expositor newspaper and established a military garrison. Camp Babbitt was built in 1862 to stop overt Southern support as well as maintain law and order in the community. During these Civil War years, Visalia was incorporated; the second incorporation in 1874 moved Visalia into city status with a common council and an ex-officio Mayor and President. In 1893, the train bandits and murderers John Sontag and Chris Evans were apprehended, badly wounded, outside Visalia in what is called the Battle of Stone Corral. Sontag died three weeks in police custody in Fresno. In 1904, the Visalia Electric Railroad was incorporated. In October 1933, Visalia was the site of a fact-finding committee appointed by Governor James Rolph and charged with investigating labor violence in the San Joaquin cotton strike.
Labor activist Caroline Decker led hundreds of strikers in a march on the courthouse, led the questioning of strikers during the investigation. In the mid-1970s, the area was known for the serial burglaries of the as yet unidentified Visalia Ransacker. More Visalia served as a host city for the Amgen Tour of California in 2009 and 2010; the city is divided into neighborhoods, some of which were incorporated communities. There are several independent cities around Visalia that are popularly grouped with the city of Visalia, due to its immediate vicinity; the city is divided into the following areas: Downtown Visalia, North Visalia, The Eastside, Southwest Visalia, the Industrial Area and the Westside. Visalia has a rich architectural history including many extant buildings dating to the mid-late 1800s. Throughout the town center are many historic brick structures, including the Bank of Italy and the Art Deco/Beaux-Arts Visalia Town Center Post Office, both of which are registered with the National Register of Historic Places.
In addition to many other historic buildings and Victorian houses, Visalia is home to a distinctive Fox Theatre, restored by a community group known as "Friends of the Fox" and serves as a live venue for music and stage performances. Visalia is irregularly shaped and covers a total area of 36.3 square miles, of which 36.3 square miles is land
State highways in California
The state highway system of the U. S. state of California is a network of highways that are owned and maintained by the Highway Division of the California Department of Transportation. Each highway is assigned a Route number in the Streets and Highways Code. Most of these are numbered in a statewide system, are known as State Route X. United States Numbered Highways are labeled US X, Interstate Highways are Interstate X. Under the code, the state assigns a unique Route X to each highway, does not differentiate between state, US, or Interstate highways; the California Highway Patrol is tasked with patrolling all state highways to enforce traffic laws. California's highway system is governed pursuant to Division 1 of the California Streets and Highways Code. Since July 1 of 1964, the majority of legislative route numbers, those defined in the Streets and Highways Code, match the sign route numbers. For example, Interstate 5 is listed as "Route 5" in the code. On the other hand, some short routes are instead signed as parts of other routes — for instance, Route 112 and Route 260 are signed as part of the longer State Route 61, Route 51 is part of Interstate 80 Business.
Concurrences are not explicitly codified in the Streets and Highways Code. The state may turn them over to local control. If the relinquished segment is in the middle of the highway's route, the local jurisdiction is required to install and maintain signs directing drivers to the continuation of that highway; the state may delete a highway and turn over an entire state route to local control. Business routes are not maintained by the state unless they are assigned legislative route numbers. A few routes or sections of routes are considered unrelinquished - a new alignment has been built, or the legislative definition has changed to omit the section, but the state still maintains the roadway — and are Route XU. There are two such unrelinqushed routes, with State Route 14U, an old alignment of State Route 14, as the most recent example of such, where the process to relinquish 14U started on January 1 of 2018, along with State Route 103U being the other unrelinquished route within the system; some new alignments are considered supplemental and have a suffix of S.
Both types of suffixed routes are considered spurs. Current or former unsigned suffixed routes include State Route 156U, signed as State Route 156 Business through Hollister, State Route 180S, the freeway replacement for State Route 180 in Fresno; the first legislative routes were defined by the State Highway Bond Act in 1909, passed by the California State Legislature and signed by Governor James Gillett. These, extensions to the system, were numbered sequentially. No signs were erected for these routes; the United States Numbered Highways were assigned by the American Association of State Highway Officials in November 1926, but posting did not begin in California until January 1928. These were assigned to some of the main legislative routes in California. Signs were posted by the Automobile Club of Southern California and California State Automobile Association, active in signing national auto trails and local roads since the mid-1900s. In 1934, after the major expansion of the state highway system in 1933 by the California Legislature, California sign route numbers were assigned by the California Division of Highways.
The California sign route numbers were assigned in a geographical system independent of the legislative routes. Odd-numbered routes ran north–south and even-numbered routes ran east–west; the routes were split among southern California and central and northern California as follows: 0 or 1 modulo 4: central and northern California 2 or 3 modulo 4: southern CaliforniaFor instance, State Route 1 and State Route 4 were in central and northern California, State Route 2 and State Route 3 were in southern California. A rough grid was used inside the two regions, with the largest numbers — all less than 200 - in eastern California and near the border between the two regions; the Interstate Highway System numbers were assigned by AASHO in late 1959. In 1963 and 1964, a total renumbering of the legislative routes was made, aligning them with the sign routes; some changes were made to the sign routes related to decommissionings of U. S. Routes in favor of Interstates. Since the 1990s, many non-freeway routes in urban areas, have been deleted and turned over to local control.
This transfers the cost of maintaining them from state to local budgets, but gives local governments direct control over urban arterial roads th