Sequoia Parks Foundation Merges!

The merger of Sequoia Parks Foundation and Sequoia Natural History Association, the parks two non-profit partners, was announced at the launch of the newly created Sequoia Parks Conservancy, October 15th, 2015 at the Visitor Center in Sequoia National Park.

Superintendent Woody Smeck of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks said, “This merger provides an exciting opportunity to leverage the complementary strengths and 89 years of combined experience of both organizations.”

The Foundation’s former board secretary-treasury, and current chair of the Transitional Executive Committee (Sequoia Parks Conservancy), Lee A. Goldstein said, “The Sequoia Parks Conservancy will unify efforts and increase participation to enhance the park visitor experience, protect natural resources and provide quality programs.”

Sequoia Natural History Association’s Executive Director, Mark Tilchen, says, “The two organizations have always worked side-by-side.” He added, “The public and our supporters should think of this as a great medley of two outstanding organizations working together to fulfill a greater responsibility to our parks and partners. We are excited about the future and ready to get to work.” Tilchen will serve as executive director of the Sequoia Parks Conservancy.

Over the coming months we will keep you informed by mail and on this website as the Sequoia Parks Conservancy rolls out it’s new look, enhanced services, and expanded ways to engage with the Park.

Sentinel Campground Gains Accessible Campsites

Over a long weekend in mid-July over 30 members of four generations of the extended Karplus family completed a volunteer project to convert four campsites and the associated amenities in the Sentinel Campsite in Cedar Grove to fully compliant accessible sites. The team members ranged in age from 4 to 90, and the project was planned with the National Park Service and made possible by the financial support of Sequoia Parks Foundation.


The fully compliant sites aaccessible campsitere sites 10, 11, 12, and a riverside site, #14. The project involved rebuilding and replacing all amenities (picnic table, fire pit, and bear box) plus relocating and re plumbing the nearest water faucet/hydrant. The nearby restroom already had a special unisex ADA-compliant addition. Each site now has a firm and nearly level area for two tents, a picnic table whose table surface extends 20 inches beyond the table legs on both ends, a raised fire pit, and a bear box that is accessible from a wheel chair.  


“My family decided to do this project in honor of my mother’s (Betty Karplus’) 90th birthday earlier this year,” said Bev Hartline (Montana), the oldest of Betty’s children. “It was great to get together in Cedar Grove with Mom, all my siblings, their spouses, most of her grand children, two great grandchildren, and one of our cousins. The combination of family socializing, hard work, and developing new skills in pursuit of a worthwhile project in a beautiful place was unbeatable. And the weather was near perfect, ranging between the 60′s and 80′s.”

The Foundation supports outstanding projects, like this one, that fall outside of what the NPS can support, but can make a huge difference to the visitor experience. We are delighted to offer accessible campsites now in Cedar Grove.

Kings Canyon Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

On March 4th we passed the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Kings Canyon National Park. Today, only a dwindling handful of local residents remember the days before the park was created and the long and bitter campaign to bring it into existence.

Nearly a quarter of Kings Canyon National Park falls within Tulare County; the remainder can be found within neighboring Fresno County. It is – like Sequoia National Park — very much our local national park. Local citizens played critical roles in the campaign to create it, and today we still migrate each summer in happy relief to its trails and campgrounds.

Happy birthday Kings Canyon National Park – we’re glad that you’re a part of our local world. © Wm. Tweed

Grant Received To Jumpstart Restoration Project

The Sequoia Parks Foundation is delighted to announce the receipt of a major new grant from Edison International to support habitat restoration in Sequoia National Park. The grant will help support the restoration of native vegetation in Halstead Meadow, a sensitive wetland damaged decades ago by the construction of the Generals Highway.  The original Generals Highway disconnected the flow of water between upper and lower Halstead Meadow, severely impacting the rare wetlands ecosystem.  Responding to this problem, the National Park Service sought and received funds to reconstruct the highway where it crosses the meadow, a project finished just this past fall.  Now work can begin to restore the meadow downstream from the rebuilt crossing.  The Foundation thanks Edison International for this important gift.

Foundation Honored By Corporate Partner

On December 13th, at a ceremony in Porterville, California, the Bank of the Sierra honored the Sequoia Parks Foundation for its continuing work to support Sequoia and Kings Canyon National parks. The occasion was the dedication of a giant outdoor mural portraying a life-sized giant sequoia grove.  The mural, painted by Steven Ball, graces the eastern exterior of the Bank’s headquarters building in downtown Porterville and covers over 5,000 square feet.  At the December 13th event, bank president James Holly dedicated the mural to the Sequoia Parks Foundation.  The Bank of the Sierra has been a long-time Foundation supporter.

End-of-Year Appeal Generates Generous Giving

We’re still processing the mail we received, but we can now say with certainty that the Foundation’s 2014 end-of-the-year appeal once again generated an amazing response from those who care about Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.  Every day our post brings us yet more donations. THANK YOU for your continued support!  Your support assures that the Foundation will be able to continue important education programs, trail improvements, and resource protection projects in 2013, providing huge benefits to our Parks. . . . .

Sequoia Parks Foundation Receives Major New Grant!

The National Park Foundation, a Washington,-D.C.-based organization that supports the national park system, has just confirmed a $75,000 commitment to a major new project in Kings Canyon National Park. This grant, funded as a part of the National Park Foundation’s “Legacy Project,” will provide more than half the funding required to reconstruct the Panoramic Point Trail in Kings Canyon National Park to meet Universal Access standards. The Sequoia Parks Foundation will now begin seeking $60,000 in matching funds to complete this important project.

Jeangerard Family Foundation Achieves Major Milestone In Support Of Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Parks!

The Jeangerard Family Foundation, based in Madera, California,  has just achieved a major milestone in its support of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. Cumulative giving by the Jeangerards to the national parks has now reached $500,000!    View video According to Sequoia Parks Foundation chairman Bill Tweed, the Jeangerard Family began investing in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in 2008 and has continued to make annual gifts each year since then. Working closely with the Parks Foundation, the Jeangerards have focused their gifts on projects that have improved the condition of park trails and supported access to natural features. The gifts have included trail improvement along the extremely popular Rae Lakes Loop, trail bridges in Redwood Canyon, and major improvements to the badly worn Tokopah Falls Trail at Lodgepole Campground. The Jeangerards have also funded a continuing series of trail improvements in and around Zumwalt Meadow on the floor of the Kings Canyon. Located about three miles east of Cedar Grove Village, Zumwalt Meadow offers visitors perhaps the best single location to discover the essence of this Kings Canyon. In support of this experience, the Jeangerard Family has funded several years of work here that has made the Zumwalt Meadow Trail much more accessible and natural resource sensitive. Improvements have included creek crossings, meadow boardwalks, and hardened trail surfaces at selected locations. National Park Service trail crews have carried out all of this work. The most recent project completed with Jeangerard funding has been an accessible trail to Muir Rock, the huge glacial boulder on the banks of the Kings River on top of which naturalist John Muir presented campfire talks in 1901.  This year’s gift will be invested in completing accessibility work between Zumwalt Meadow and Roads End. In recognition of all this generous support, the Sequoia Parks Foundation commissioned a video featuring the Jeangerards and the difference their giving has made to park visitors. A special park event held in September  unveiled the video and honored the Jeangerard family. .


American Legion Donates To The Park

American Legion Post 621, based in Squaw Valley, California, has finalized plans to underwrite a new interpretive exhibit at the General Grant Tree in Kings Canyon National Park. The proposed project dovetails perfectly with park plans to replace the aging exhibits along the Grant Tree Trail this year. The General Grant Tree, a giant sequoia recognized as one of the largest trees in the world, was designated as a National Shrine by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in March 1956.  In this role, the tree honors our nation’s war dead. A new interpretive exhibit, to be funded by the American Legion,  will bring this important story to the attention of national park visitors who seek out the tree. As the park’s non-profit fundraising partner, the Sequoia Parks Foundation will receive a donation of $1,088 from the American Legion, and then pass these funds on to the park when the bill for the new exhibit comes due. This is one of the many ways the Foundation assists the park.

Exciting New Donation To Rangers In The Classroom Program

We are pleased to announce that Ben and Ruth Hammett, long-time supporters of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, have made a personal gift of $20,000 to the Sequoia Parks Foundation fund that supports the Rangers in the Classroom program.

gallery-rangers-in-the-classroom-3-2010-006.jpgThe Rangers in the Classroom initiative sends National Park Service park rangers into the public school classrooms of Central California. There, they share stories about their work and the value of the national parks of the southern Sierra.  Many of the students in these classes have never had an opportunity to visit the region’s national parks and most have no idea that park rangers are public servants.

During the 2011-2012 school year, the Rangers in the Classroom program reached another 10,358 students through classroom visits.  Thanks to the donation from the Hammetts donation, plans for the 2012-2013 school year call for a team of five to continue this important work. Since its inception, a majority of the funding that supports this program has come from the Sequoia Parks Foundation.  As Parks Foundation chairman Bill Tweed remarked recently,

   “With support from friends like Ben and Ruth Hammett, we can do amazing things for the communities that neighbors our national parks. The Hammetts set a model for us all.”

Celebrating Partnerships!

In 2011, the Foundation brought together a partnership of federal agencies, corporate supporters and private funders, to fully fund the final two years of the Restoration of Wet Meadows Project which will eradicate invasive reed canarygrass from the Parks, restore the important biodiversity of rare wet meadows, and prevent the spread of this highly invasive plant down the watershed into private and Forest Service lands. Photo: SCE Jack Sahl, SPF Tya Ward, NFWF Mike Chrisman, SPF Sally Bolger.