Se­quoia and Kings Canyon Na­tional Parks re­open dur­ing shut­down

The Fresno Bee - - News - BY CAR­MEN GE­ORGE cge­[email protected]­nobee.com Car­men Ge­orge: 559-441-6386, @Car­menGe­orge

Se­quoia and Kings Canyon Na­tional Parks re­opened to the pub­lic Fri­day af­ter a re­cent clo­sure due to the gov­ern­ment shut­down.

Of­fi­cials pre­vi­ously closed the park in­def­i­nitely Dec. 31, cit­ing un­safe con­di­tions. The re­open­ing was an­nounced in a news re­lease late Fri­day af­ter­noon.

“Some vis­i­tor ser­vices, in­clud­ing camp­grounds and en­trance sta­tions, will re­open us­ing rev­enue gen­er­ated by recre­ation fees,” park spokesman Sin­tia Kawasaki-Yee wrote. “All ar­eas that are typ­i­cally open this time of year, in­clud­ing camp­grounds, re­strooms, trails, and roads, are open, ex­cept vis­i­tor cen­ters. These ar­eas will re­main open un­less win­ter con­di­tions or other fac­tors re­quire oth­er­wise.”

Other ser­vices may be lim­ited or un­avail­able dur­ing the gov­ern­ment shut­down, in­clud­ing ranger talks and pro­grams.

The open ar­eas in­clude Gi­ant For­est and Gen­eral Sher­man Tree, Grant Grove and Gen­eral Grant Tree, Foothills and Hos­pi­tal Rock, Potwisha and Aza­lea Camp­grounds, and Big Stump and Wolver­ton snow play ar­eas. “Na­tional Park Ser­vice of­fi­cials have de­ter­mined that by us­ing Fed­eral Land and Recre­ation En­hance­ment funds to im­me­di­ately bring back park main­te­nance and law en­force­ment crews to plow roads, clean re­strooms, re­move trash, and pro­vide health and safety op­er­a­tions, the park will be able to re­store ac­ces­si­bil­ity to the park for vis­i­tors while en­sur­ing health and safety.”

En­trance sta­tions will be open to pro­vide safety in­for­ma­tion, but en­trance fees and camp­ing fees will not be col­lected at this time.

“We greatly ap­pre­ci­ate the gen­er­ous con­tri­bu­tions of our park part­ners and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties who have helped in many ways dur­ing this lapse in ap­pro­pri­a­tions,” said act­ing park su­per­in­ten­dent Christy Brigham. “We are happy to see our park clean and with ex­cited vis­i­tors al­ready enjoying their na­tional parks.”

Park vis­i­tors can call 559-565-3341 for cur­rent clo­sures, road and weather con­di­tions. Tire chains may be re­quired at any time, and win­ter con­di­tions are ex­pected in the com­ing days.

Ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion: Se­quoia Parks Con­ser­vancy, se­quoia­parks con­ser­vancy.org; con­ces­sion and lodg­ing in­for­ma­tion, vis­it­se­quoia.com; and up­dates about the gov­ern­ment shut­down, doi.gov/shut­down.

REED PARSELL [email protected]

Hik­ers at the Se­nate clus­ter of gi­ant se­quoias along Se­quoia Na­tional Park’s Congress Trail in 2016.

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