Gov’t shutdown ends, Nat’l Parks reopen
Last Thursday’s reopening of the National Parks could not have come at a better time. Many tourists plan their vacations to the central Sierra Nevadas for the early autumn months, as the beauty of the mountains is accentuated by the changing colors of the leaves and cooler temperatures make for comfortable hikes without the crowds of summer.
However, the lapse in Congressional appropriations resulted in the Parks being closed since Oct. 1, leaving many visitors postponing their vacation plans until access was restored.
Now that the Sequoia and Kings National Parks are accessible, visitors can move ahead with their plans to enjoy the various unique features of the area, with fully-restored services and access.
“We are happy to be back at work to welcome the American public to their national parks,” said Superintendent Woody Smeck.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National 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. With the world’s largest trees (by volume), grand mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the highest point in the lower 48 states, it is a place that attracts nearly 1.7 million visitors a year from across the U.S. and the world.
While visitors could still access the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument during the shutdown, they were not immune to the shutdown, either. With the word from Washington to reopen, the Trail of 100 giants, campgrounds, facilities and services are up and running once again.
The news came just in time to save a seasonal favorite – Halloween at Crystal Cave. This year’s cave tour will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 27 with show times at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person and must be purchased at either the Foothills Visitor Center or Lodgepole Visitor Center 559-565-3135.
Visalia Chamber of Commerce President & Sequoia Tourism Council Chair, Glenn Morris, welcomed the news that visitors are already resuming their travels to the area.
“We are pleased that the National Park and Forest are once again available, so that people can experience the majesty of these public treasures. If you have ever thought about visiting the Sequoias, now is the perfect time to do so!”
For more information, visit the Sequoia and Kings National Parks website at www.nps.gov/seki, the Sequoia National Forest at www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia.