Rock, Sequoia National Park
Hale Tharp entered the Giant Forest with an
Indian guide. That same year, an Indian guided
J.H. Johnson into Kings Canyon.
1861— The first ascent of Moro Rock made
by Hale Tharp and his stepsons, George and John
1864— Under the field direction of William
Brewer of the California Geological Survey,
the first scientific exploration of the region
was conducted. Commemorating these pioneer scientists
are Mt. Whitney, Mt. Brewer, Mt. Clarence King,
and Mt. Cotter.
1865— The last of the Potwisha Indians
leave Hospital Rock area due to the growing
number of white settlers.
1867— In August, the General Grant Tree
1873— The first ascent of Mount Whitney,
the highest mountain in the contiguous United
1875— John Muir (1838-1914), naturalist
and author, named the Giant Forest during his
1879— In August, the General Sherman Tree
was named by James Wolverton.
The Kaweah Colony, a socialist utopian group,
settled on the upper North Fork of the Kaweah
River near Three Rivers and planned to cut timber
in the Giant Forest. They called the General
Sherman Tree the “Karl Marx Tree.”
1890— On September 25, the efforts of
Tulare County residents, headed by George Stewart
(1857-1931), editor of the Visalia Delta and
attorney, resulted in Congress passing and President
Benjamin Harrison signing the act designating
Sequoia National Park, the nation’s second
national park. Six days later, another bill
was signed expanding the new park and creating
General Grant and Yosemite national parks.
1891— U.S. Cavalry troops were assigned
to protect the newly created national parks,
headed by Captain J.H. Dorst, Fourth U.S. Cavalry,
with the first headquarters at Mineral King.
1898— The grazing of sheep banned from
park land. Ernest Britten, 36, of Three Rivers,
was appointed as the first assistant special
forest agent to work in Sequoia. He received
$4 per day and furnished all his own supplies,
including horses and saddles.
1900— First appropriation for park operations
was received in the amount of $10,000. Ernest
Britten of Three Rivers appointed “winter
park ranger.” First stage line into the
park was started by Ralph Hopping and John Broder,
who also provided a week’s camp accommodations
at Giant Forest, all for $35.
1903— In August, the first wagon road
to Giant Forest was completed under Army supervision.
This was an extension of the road built up the
North Fork to the Colony Mill by the Kaweah
colonists. Park visitation totaled 450.
1904— First automobile driven into Sequoia
National Park by Mr. and Mrs. W.G. Luper of
1905— Federal legislation authorized all
employees of forest reserves and national parks
to make arrests and bring offenders before a
United States Commissioner.
1906— The Antiquities Act established
the first federal policy protecting and preserving
historic and prehistoric sites.
1913— There were 3,823 visitors from March
1 to Oct. 1. This year marked the end of military
administration’s park-protection program
in Sequoia and General Grant national parks.
1914— Walter Fry of Three Rivers, who
had been Sequoia’s chief ranger since
1905, became first civilian superintendent of
Sequoia National Park.
1915— Atwell Mill, in the Mineral King
area, was purchased by a Seattle resident, a
representative of the National Geographic Society,
who donated the property to Sequoia National
Park. The Mather Mountain Party toured Sequoia
National Park from Giant Forest to Mount Whitney
to convince Congress to pass a national park
1916— The National Park Service was created.
Congress appropriated $50,000 for the purchase
of private lands in the Giant Forest; the National
Geographic Society contributed $20,000.
1917— Wooden stairs were built on Moro
1918— Crystal Cave was discovered by two
off-duty park employees while fishing.
1920— Colonel John R. White was appointed
superintendent. The last private inholdings
in Giant Forest were acquired by the Park Service.
Bear Hill, the park garbage dump at Giant Forest,
became a regular evening attraction and bleachers
were erected for visitors to congregate and
watch black bears forage through the trash.
1921— Winter sports debuted in Sequoia
with the development of the Wolverton Ski Bowl.
1922— Work on the Generals Highway began.
Walter Fry, now U.S. Magistrate, initiated the
Sequoia Nature Guide Service, offering the park’s
first guided nature walk in June.
1923— Tharp’s Log in the Giant Forest
area of Sequoia was dedicated after being restored
in large part by the Three Rivers Woman’s
1924— “Winter headquarters”
were built for park administration at Ash Mountain.
1926— In July, the Generals Highway opened
from Ash Mountain through the Giant Forest to
the General Sherman Tree. Concessions, including
stores and dining facilities, moved from Round
Meadow to the opposite side of the highway from
Beetle Rock and became known as Giant Forest
Village. The popularity of Walter Fry’s
nature guide program resulted in the hiring
of three new park naturalists, and park visitors
were treated to walks, nightly campfire programs
and a series of pamphlets called “Nature
Notes.” Sequoia was more than doubled
in size to include the Kern Canyon and Mt. Whitney.
The General Grant Tree was designated as the
Nation’s Christmas Tree by President Coolidge.
1928— Lodgepole Campground, five miles
east of Giant Forest, was made the primary camping
area for the park to ease congestion in the
Giant Forest. Construction began on the High
1930— Livestock was no longer allowed
to graze on park land.
1931— Moro Rock’s wooden staircase
was replaced with a stone stairway. A fallen
sequoia along the Crescent Meadow/Moro Rock
Road became the Auto Log, a major visitor attraction
made accessible for automobiles.
1932— The High Sierra Trail from Giant
Forest over Kaweah Gap was completed, a 21-mile
project that took five summer seasons. This
was the first Sierra trail built solely for
1933— Handrails were added to Moro Rock.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) arrived
in Kaweah Country and during the next nine years
built many park improvements. Dozens of examples
of their handiwork are still in use today, including
the Pear Lake Ranger Station and Crystal Cave
stairs and pathway.
1934— A High Sierra Camp was built at
Bearpaw Meadow along the High Sierra Trail between
Giant Forest and Kaweah Gap.
1935— The park-to-park (Sequoia to General
Grant) extension of the Generals Highway was
dedicated July 23, being called one of the most
scenic mountain highways in America. The CCC
built the Lodgepole ice-skating rink and Milk
Ranch Peak fire lookout. The Indian Head entrance
sign was designed and fabricated by George Muno.
1938— Lookout Point Ranger Station on
the Mineral King Road was built by the National
1939— Kings Canyon Highway from Grant
Grove to Cedar Grove was completed. Park visitation
1940— On March 4, Kings Canyon National
Park, originally proposed to be called John
Muir-Kings Canyon National Park, was created
by Congress, absorbing and enlarging General
Grant National Park. Commercial downhill skiing
started with the installation of rope tows at
Wolverton in Sequoia National Park. Bear Hill
— a nightly feeding show where bears were
fed food scraps and kitchen garbage while park
visitors watched from nearby bleachers —
was closed permanently. Sequoia Natural History
Association, a park support group, was formed
to support education and scientific research
in Sequoia and Kings Canyon.
1943— As a wartime economy measure, the
administrations of Sequoia and Kings Canyon
were merged and continue to be administered
1944— On Sept. 5, National Park Service
Director Newton Drury ordered the imminent removal
of all facilities in the Giant Forest sequoia
1953— For the first time, visitation exceeded
1 million in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National
1956— The Park Service presented Mission
66 to Congress, a proposal designed to reverse
the decline of park services and natural resources
by 1966, the Park Service’s 50th anniversary.
President Eisenhower designated the General
Grant Tree as a National Shrine to honor the
nation’s war dead.
1959— Richard Hartesveldt, Sequoia National
Park’s ecologist, issued a report indicating
that California’s giant sequoias need
fire to clear away accumulation of fuel at their
bases and to germinate their seeds.
1963— The Leopold Report, an appraisal
of park ecosystem management nationwide, recommended
maintaining or restoring park environments to
natural conditions. Within three years, a research
science program was established at Sequoia and
1964— On September 3, Congress passed
and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness
Act, designating nine million acres of public
lands as wilderness and establishing the National
Wilderness Preservation System.
1965— Cedar Grove and Tehipite Valley
were added to Kings Canyon National Park.
1967— The Clean Air Act was mandated,
enhancing air quality protection with the National
1968— About 600,000 acres of Sequoia and
Kings Canyon were designated as a “natural
fire zone,” where fires are monitored
and allowed to burn. The Wild and Scenic Rivers
Act established a process for protecting special
rivers and their riparian corridors. The National
Trail Systems Act established a process for
recognizing and enhancing trails that have national
1969— On Aug. 9, in the Hazelwood Picnic
Area, a giant sequoia tree toppled, killing
a woman instantly. The picnic area was permanently
closed. The National Environmental Policy Act
declared a federal policy governing the United
1970— The Giant Forest gas station and
post office were relocated to Lodgepole.
1971— The last campgrounds were removed
from Giant Forest.
1973— The Endangered Species Act was passed
to protect threatened and endangered animals
and plants in the U.S.
1975— New park concessioner, GSI, built
a market, gift shop, and snack bar at Lodgepole.
Issuance of wilderness permits established quotas
for backcountry travel.
1976— Sequoia and Kings Canyon established
the Division of Natural Resource Management
to balance interaction between park visitors
and natural resources, including the reintroduction
of natural and manmade fire for fuel management
and giant sequoia reproduction, wildlife management,
and air quality.
1978— Mineral King added to Sequoia National
1979— Annual prescribed burn program began
in Giant Forest.
1983— Kings Canyon was enlarged to include
1,500 more acres.
1984— The California Wilderness Act designated
723,036 acres of Sequoia and Kings Canyon from
their combined 864,383 acres as wilderness,
which ensures the highest legal protection from
1990— Sequoia National Park, California’s
oldest national park, celebrated 100 years.
Rope tows were removed from the Wolverton Ski
1993— Giant Forest Village began closing
concession facilities during the winter.
1995— Park gas stations closed permanently
due to environmental legislation concerning
underground storage tanks.
1996— Road construction begins to widen
the Generals Highway from Ash Mountain to Giant
Forest, a seasonal project that was estimated
to take 10 years to complete.
1997— In January, the Kings River flooded
and washed away a section of Highway 180 in
Sequoia National Forest, temporarily leaving
no access to Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National
1998— Giant Forest Village closed permanently.
1999— All buildings were removed from
the Giant Forest except for the market, which
was converted to house the Giant Forest Museum,
and Beetle Rock Hall, which was developed into
an educational center. In May, Wuksachi Village
and Lodge officially opened, located three miles
west of Lodgepole and providing year-round visitor
services away from the Giant Forest. Park visitation
for the year was 874,037 in Sequoia, up 1.4
percent from 1998; 601,752 in Kings Canyon,
up 4.5 percent from the previous year.
2000— Construction on John Muir Lodge
in Grant Grove Village, Kings Canyon National
2001— In May, President George W. Bush
visited Sequoia National Park. It was the first
visit to the park by a sitting president. In
December, the Save-The-Redwoods League presented
a 1,540-acre gift to Sequoia National Park,
adding the Dillonwood Grove of giant sequoias
to the park.
2002— Giant Forest Museum, in the old
concessions-owned Giant Forest Market building,
was dedicated. Wolverton Pack Station closed.
2003— The Mineral King Road, mines, and
cabins were designated as a historic district.
The Mineral King Pack Station closed.
2004— In May, the National Park Service
released its draft General Management Plan for
2009— The John Krebs Wilderness was established,
designating an additional 39,740 acres as wilderness
and Kings Canyon National Parks
1891- Captain Joseph Dorst
1892- Captain Joseph Dorst
1893- Captain James Parker
1894- Lieutenant Alexander Dean
1895- Captain James Lockett
1896- Captain George Goodwin
1897- Captain George Goodwin
Langenberg, civilian appointee
to Spanish American War)
1898- Captain Bennent Smith
1899- Second Lieutenant Henry Clark
1900- Captain Frank West
Ernest Britten, civilian, winter ranger in charge
1901- Captain Lincoln Andrews
1902- Captain Frank Barton
1902- Lieutenant George Blanchard Comply
1903- Captain Charles Young (Charles Young's Road Through the Sequoias, Part
1904- Captain Lester Cornish
1904- Captain George Hamilton
1905- Captain John O'Shea
Walter Fry, civilian, winter ranger in charge
1906- Captain Kirby Walker
1907- Captain Kirby Walker
1908- Captain Cornelius Smith
1909- Captain Cornelius Smith
1910- Captain Edmund Wright
1911- Captain James Hughes
1912- Captain Walter Whitman
1913- Captain Douglas McCaskey
1913- Captain Hugh Johnson
- Department of the Interior:
1912-July 14, 1920- Walter Fry
14, 1920-Jan. 1, 1939- John Roberts White
1, 1939-July 15, 1941- Eivind Scoyen
July 15, 1941-Oct.
1, 1943- John Roberts White
- Department of the Interior:
Grant National Park
July 15, 1920-March 15,
1933- John Roberts White
March 15, 1933-March 4, 1940- Guy Hopping
of the Interior:
Canyon National Park
March 4, 1940-March 15, 1940- Guy Hopping
1941-Oct. 1, 1943- Eivind Scoyen
Canyon National Parks
Oct. 1, 1943-Oct. 10, 1947- John Roberts White
1947-Jan. 16, 1956- Eivind Scoyen
1956-May 6, 1956- George Walker (acting)
May 6, 1956-Nov.
1, 1959- Thomas Allen
1959-Feb. 27, 1966- John M. Davis
1966-Sept. 24, 1967- Frank Kowski
1967-Nov. 25, 1972- John McLaughlin
1972-July 31, 1975- Henry Schmidt
1975-Oct. 30, 1975- Gene Daugherty (acting)
1977-March 31, 1980- David Thompson, Jr.
1980-Aug. 9, 1980- James McLaughlin (acting)
1980-Aug. 3, 1985- Quincy Boyd Evison
1985-Jan. 14, 1989- John H. Davis
1989-May 15, 1994- J. Thomas Ritter
1995-Oct. 2000- Michael Tollefson
23, 2001-June 2005- Richard H. Martin
2006-Oct. 2009- Craig C. Axtell
2009-Jan. 2010- Jeff Bradybaugh (interim)
2010-present- Karen Taylor-Goodrich