Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks News Release
For Immediate Release Reference Number: 8550-2136
Contact: Rebecca Paterson, Public Affairs Specialist
Phone Number: (559) 702-3400
Kings Canyon National Park to Partially Reopen Monday, 10/18/21
Sequoia National Park Remains Closed Until Further Notice
SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. October 15, 2021 – Following successful fire suppression operations and a period of favorable weather, the majority of Kings Canyon National Park and some wilderness areas of Sequoia National Park will reopen for public use on Monday, October 18. All developed areas of Sequoia National Park remain closed.
The following areas and services within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are reopening to the public:
• Big Stump Entrance Station on Highway 180
• The majority of Grant Grove, including the General Grant Tree
• Kings Canyon Visitor Center Information Desk (exhibits, shop, and theater remain closed)
• Cedar Grove
• Kings Canyon Wilderness except for Redwood Canyon
• Areas east of the Great Western Divide in the Sequoia National Park Wilderness
• South Fork in the Sequoia National Park Wilderness
The following areas and services within Kings Canyon National Park will remain closed:
• All areas south of the intersection between Highway 180 and the Generals Highway, including Redwood Canyon
• All Grant Grove concessions including restaurant, market, lodging, and gift shop
• All NPS campgrounds in Cedar Grove and Grant Grove
• Park Ridge Trail
• Big Stump Picnic Area
There have been impacts on the water systems in Kings Canyon National Park. There will be no running water available in the park until water systems are restored—currently estimated for late October. Visitors must bring enough water with them to meet their needs during their visit. Furthermore, all restroom facilities with plumbing will also be closed until water utilities are restored. Portable restrooms will be provided where no vault toilets are available.
Kings Canyon National Park is reopening for day use and wilderness use only at this time. No front country camping is available. All camping in Cedar Grove is closed for the winter. The parks hope to make winter camping available in Azalea Campground of Grant Grove in the coming months and will release more information as it becomes available.
Wilderness permits are free by self-issue at this time of year. Bear in mind that trails in the Lodgepole, Middle Fork, and Mineral King areas of Sequoia National Park remain closed. Wilderness travelers will not be able to exit via these trailheads. Please plan accordingly.
For updated information about closures on the Sequoia National Forest, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/sequoia/home
At this time, there is no timeframe in place for reopening developed areas of Sequoia National Park. Until the area is stable enough to assess safely, not enough is known to provide even an estimate. As park staff gain access and assess, a staged reopening is likely, based on different areas having sustained different levels of damage.
“We are acutely aware that local communities rely on national park visitors to support their economies and countless livelihoods. When the parks are closed, this leaves many without or with a drastically reduced source of income,” says Superintendent Clay Jordan. “Not only is providing access to public land an essential part of the NPS mission, we are also members of our local communities, and personally invested in their wellbeing. We are extremely motivated to mitigate this crisis and reopen the parks as soon as it is possible to do so responsibly.”
Wildfires can make the landscape more susceptible to landslides, rock fall, and slope run-off, especially during precipitation events. Slope stabilization and hazard tree mitigation along the Generals Highway are of particular concern. Some losses of NPS infrastructure may require a longer timeline for stabilization and repair to support safe, sanitary public access. As the containment percentage on the KNP Complex continues to climb, the parks are formulating a plan for recovery. A special Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team will be arriving next week to work with park staff in conducting a damage assessment of natural and cultural resources and park infrastructure affected by the fire.
By mid-November, park leadership expects to have a better understanding of what actions will be required before closed sections of the parks can be reopened and hopes to establish projected timeframes for reopening. No major reopening in Sequoia National Park is expected before December 2021, and fire impacts, combined with winter weather effects, may delay reopening well beyond that time.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks leadership commits to transparency with the public and their many partners throughout the complex process of returning to a normal level of operations. For the latest information on the status of the park’s fire recovery efforts, please go to www.nps.gov/seki/learn/nature/knp-complex-fires.htm
About Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
These two parks, which lie-side-by-side in the southern Sierra Nevada in Central California, serve as a prime example of nature’s size, beauty, and diversity. Over 2 million visitors from across the U.S. and the world visit these parks for the world’s largest trees (by volume), grand mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, the highest point in the lower 48 states, and more. Learn more at www.nps.gov/seki or 559-565-3341.