Officials At Kings Canyon National Park Mulling Future of Concessions in Grant Grove and Cedar Grove

If you've ever ventured to Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National Park, you know there's not much there in terms of development aside from a small lodge and associated restaurant and four campgrounds. Is that too much, or too little? Park officials want to know as they embark on an environmental assessment looking at the future of concessions in Kings Canyon.

The current concessions contract in Kings Canyon expires on October 31, 2011. Between now and then park managers want to examine how best to run concessions in the park. Current facilities at Grant Grove include a restaurant, gift shop, lodge, shower and laundry facilities, grocery store, and concession employee housing. Current facilities at Cedar Grove include a restaurant, gift shop/grocery store, lodge, shower and laundry facilities, and concessioner employee housing.

During the upcoming environmental assessment exploring concessions, park managers want to examine what alternatives exist. That's where you come in. The Park Service is seeking public input and feedback on the existing facilities at the two areas, and what facilities and activities you would like to have available at these areas in the future. This prospectus will not include commercial pack stock facilities.

The fine print: Commercial services are offered in parks to facilitate enjoyable and safe visitor experiences while protecting park resources. Commercial services provide goods and services that are not otherwise available nearby. All commercial services must be authorized; must be deemed necessary and/or appropriate; and must be economically feasible. Commercial service use levels and types are managed to provide high-quality visitor experiences while protecting natural, cultural, and scenic resources.

You can submit your comments online by selecting Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks at the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website, http://parkplanning.nps.gov/seki . Or you can direct comments regarding this project to the park in writing by sending an e-mail to , or the public may mail or hand deliver their comments to:

Superintendent Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Attn: Kings CanyonProspectus
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271

All comments must be received by December 21, 2009.

Comments

How far is Cedar Grove from the nearest (next nearest) grocery store? How many staff are stationed there, in that housing? Would they have other places to be near enough to work if they lost that housing? Don't work too hard to answer my questions, Kurt...just if you happen to know.

Marshall, it's probably about 40 miles from Cedar Grove to Grant Grove, but certainly not in a straight line. The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, aka California 180, is definitely a road you don't want to take your eyes off of for more than a second or two in places. As for employee/staff housing, I'm not sure it would be realistic -- or humane -- to make them drive that road twice a day.

My initial thoughts on this matter would be to leave the existing facilities in place.

The Hume Lake Christian Camp has a general store.

Three years ago, my group wandered into Cedar Grove after finishing an 8-day trek through the Sphink Creek basin. Having a working shower replete with camp store and restaurant was a great way to re-enter civilization. No slogging 40 miles in a tight car cramped next to the same folks that smell just as bad as you. We bathed, ate and changed right then and there. It was the perfect ending for this expedition. I remember looking at the lodge and remarking how little the style had changed over the decades. A piece of Americana. Like Jellystone in real life.

At the time, a fire had broken out across 180 snarling outbound traffic for hours. But nobody seemed to care. There was food, ice and camping for the taking. And the river was running low for tubing or just standing around taking in the scenery. Having full service facilities on hand was a major plus. Everyone felt at ease.

I'd like to see these structures remain intact for when I bring my kids in a few years. In time, I'd like them to experience it some day like I did as a young man.

Paul