Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

50th anniversary: 1890s saw creation of Sequoia National Park

September 28, 2009, 8:00 am

One hundred and fifty years of newspapers contain stories large and small about the achievements, failures and foibles of the people of a region.

This weekly series, part of the Times-Delta’s observance of its 150th anniversary, will show slices of Visalia and Tulare County life through the years that the newspaper has been serving the region.

Part XII: The 1890s began with one of the most significant events in Tulare County history, the creation of Sequoia National Park. It was a long crusade, led by Weekly Delta editor George Stewart. Here are selected stories from the climactic period, unsigned but presumably written by Stewart.

July 3, 1890

“It is the general opinion that the petition and accompanying documents prepared last year by citizens of this and adjoining counties for transmission to Congress, and recommending the permanent reservation for a public park of certain timbered lands in the Sierra, were never sent to Washington.

“Tulare made a mistake in inviting other counties to participate, for what was everybody’s business became the affair of no one. If there is to be any portion of our mountain forests reserved, with their grand old sequoias, it must be done now or never. Nearly all of the groves have already passed into private ownership.

“Certain tracts, like the Giant forest, that were once on the market and filed on by applicants in good faith, should be restored to the market. This would be nothing more than justice under the circumstances; but every acre of unsurveyed timber lands in the Sierra Nevada should be reserved immediately and for all time. This could work injury to no one; and it is due to the public that at least a small section of our splendid mountain woodlands should remain as made by nature.

“To permit the total destruction of our giant redwoods and magnificent pine forests would be a burning shame. The injury could not be computed or repaired. It is well to recognize this fact and to act without further unnecessary delay.”