Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Crystal Lake and dam (elevation 10,800 feet), still ice-covered. (Click arrows for additional photos.)Eagle Lake and dam (elevation 10,010 feet).Upper Monarch Lake and dam (elevation 10,600 feet), still snowbound. This lake is located west of and directly below Sawtooth Peak.Franklin Lake and dam (elevation 10,331 feet). Franklin Lake is the largest lake in the Mineral King cirque.

Scenes from the high country

Southern California Edison performs aerial inspection of Mineral King dams
Sarah Elliott


There has been hydroelectric generation on the Kaweah River for more than a century. There are three powerhouses in Three Rivers, miles of flumes, three forebays, two diversion dams (near Sequoia National Park’s Potwisha), and four dams in the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park. These components make up an intricate system that produces enough clean energy to annually power thousands of homes and businesses.
The four Mineral King dams were conceptualized in 1904 as a way to maintain a reliable source of water incoming to the Mount Whitney Power and Electric Company’s Powerhouse No. 1. And because of these dams, there are today recreational trails to the four lakes that they control — Crystal, Eagle, Franklin, and Monarch — making them popular hiking destinations. In 1917, Southern California Edison succeeded the Mt. Whitney Power Company and took over the Kaweah facilities and operations.
The photos above were taken  during an aerial tour of the four Mineral King dams on Monday, July 31, by James Kennard, who oversees the maintenance and operations of the Kaweah hydroelectric facilities, headquartered in Three Rivers.