Kings Canyon National Park Officials Seeking Input on Park Concessions

Kings Canyon National Park officials are considering some sweeping changes at Grant Grove. NPS photo of the John Muir Lodge.

Change is coming to the concession facilities at Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park, and park officials are hoping you can help them figure out which direction to head.

For instance, the Grant Grove Restaurant building is in such sorry shape that Park Service engineers say it'd be less expensive to raze it and build new, rather than make the necessary repairs. As a result, park officials are considering the following options:

* Rebuild the restaurant in the current location: Under this alternative, food service would be expanded and updated to reflect current visitor desires for food and beverage service. The seating capacity would stay approximately the same. The restaurant menu and style offered would be similar to that of a casual family dining restaurant or a fast casual sandwich/grill service.

* Reduce seating and move the restaurant to co-locate with the Grant Grove Market: Under this alternative, the current building would be demolished and the restaurant would be moved into part of the market facility, just around the corner from the existing restaurant. A small addition would be made to that building. The seating capacity would decrease from the current level of 128 seats to approximately 45 seats, a 65 percent reductions. The offering would be a sandwich shop or grill service.

* Reduce seating and move the restaurant to the John Muir Lodge lobby: Under this alternative, the current restaurant building would be demolished, and the restaurant would be moved to the lobby of the John Muir Lodge, approximately a quarter-mile to the east. Given the limited amount of space at the lobby, it is likely that restaurant operations would be limited to more of a cafeteria-style or grill service with reduced seating capacity and fewer food & beverage options. Seating capacity would decrease from the current level of 128 seats to 45 seats. The offering would be a sandwich shop or grill service.

Park officials also are considering what to do with the lodging situation at Grant Grove. Options being considered currently are:

* Maintain current operations: Under this alternative, no new cabins or lodge rooms would be added, nor would any current cabins or lodge rooms be removed. Overnight accommodation capacity at Grant Grove would remain unchanged at 36 lodge rooms, five rustic cabins with bath, 24 rustic cabins without bath, and 18 tent cabins.

* New Tent Cabins and Cabins without Bath: The concessionaire would expand the current level of lodging operations at Grant Grove to increase the number of rustic cabins without bath and tent cabins in the Tent City and Wormwood areas. Consequently, there would be roughly 20 additional cabins. These new cabins would reflect the historic character of the area, and would be constructed using materials and construction techniques similar to the current structures. The concessionaire would be encouraged to provide additional interpretation of the historical significance of the area.

Regarding employee housing, park officials are thinking of either keeping the current Wormwood housing area in operations, "despite its substandard condition," or relocate the summer housing to Cedar Springs. Under that option, the concessionaire would demolish seasonal housing structures at Wormwood, which is approximately 100 feet from visitor lodging. It would repair the summer trailer pads at Cedar Springs, approximately a half- mile from visitor lodging, to be used instead.

This area contains several trailers already and historically was used as NPS employee housing. These trailer pads would be used for seasonal concession employees only, and would be closed during the off-peak season.

Kings Canyon officials are taking public comment on these options through October 23. You can view the park's documents on these alternatives, and make your comments, at this site.

Comments

I loved staying in a rustic cabin there, although it would have been better if the heater was working. Also - I was having problems with my door and key. I had to jiggle the key the right way to turn it, and the door didn't close very well. They could certainly use some basic maintenance on the place. I don't see adding a few more cabins destroying the nature of the place. It's pretty modestly sized as it stands.

The restaurant was also pretty spartan. I wouldn't be upset if they razed the building; I didn't see anything special about it, although they did have an espresso cart out in the front patio area.

raze or not to raze I think that you guys already have the figured out my main concern would be that the new building be built in a maner that complements the National Park that it's in and be a center where all visitors feel at home and want to return and stay for a while , as for the cabins more will cause a great deal of stress on the ecology of the area and should be your first concern but if you are considering removing some cabins and relocating with new ones they should be made to a standard that will invite visitors to return over and over.