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to-day. It is estimated that at least 200,000 sheep roamed at will over the national reserve, a destructive fire raged in the Giant Forest, and hunters frequented the parks with impunity. The experience of 1898 must convince the Government that prompt and effective measures must be adopted if trespassers are to be excluded from national parks, and this can best be accomplished by detaching annually a small military force for duty in the reservation.
Prior to the detail of the troops in 1899, the intelligent cooperation of the Forest Rangers prevented the entrance of many sheep to the Sequoia Park, and since the arrival of this detachment a band has been constantly held back from the southwestern corner of Sequoia, another band arrested just as it was entering the west side, and two more prevented from crossing the north boundary of Grant Park. A few domestic cows and horses have been ejected, several hunters arrested, and a running guard maintained against two constantly invading herds of stock on the north of Sequoia and south of Grant parks.
Every year since the National Parks were established the boundaries have been a subject of conjecture, and the uncertainty of their location, a discouraging introduction to the Government officers charged with the custody of the reservations. Imaginary lines have been thrown from mountain top to mountain top, and the limits thus marked handed from one superintendent to the next, generally through the medium of the Government guides. Inevitable disputes have arisen between the officers and the stockmen who would take advantage of the park reserve for purposes of grazing, both parties being ignorant of the real lines because of their inability to locate the original monuments. A Government survey is now being directed in both parks. The lines of the General Grant Park are already established, well blazed and inarked with suitable monuments at frequent intervals. A metal plate with the letters G.G.N.P. has been securely fastened to such trees as were found directly on the boundary line, and plates with the inscription S.N.P. will similarly mark the Sequoia Park before the season closes.
ROADS AND TRAILS,
The Sequoia Park, although 252 square miles in extent, is crossed by but one wagon road—that one of about 11 miles in length, and called the Mineral King road. This road was built on public land some twenty years ago, by the miners of the Mineral King district, to take in machinery and carry out ore. After the mining excitement subsided it was made a toll road by the mining company which built it. Failing to pay expenses it was transferred once or twice, and finally bought by Tulare County for a nominal sum. This so-called county road through a National Park is unsatisfactory, and presents many complications and opportunities for dispute with trespassers and stockmen. The county of Tulare spends but very little for its repair, while the General Government contributes nothing, though both are alike interested in the improvement of this single thoroughfare. The Mineral King road runs along the mountains north of the east fork of the Kaweah River. The roadway is cut in the hillside, and the grade as now established is wretched. In many places the road is dangerous, and serious accidents are an annual occurrence. Furthermore, there is no ground level enough for a camp along its whole length in the park unless the title to certain tracts of patented land be extinguished. With this private land reclaimed by the Government, the only heavy transportation would be the Government freight for the troops, although this year there has been considerable heavy teaming from Atwell's saw. mill and the adjoining shingle mill, both occupying deeded land within the park limits. Judging from its present neglect, it is probable that the road will be practically impassable for loaded wagons before this season closes.
Previous reports have referred to the Old Colony Mill road, but neglect and want of use for the past nine years have rendered this road impassable to wagons, and unless someone is interested in its repair very shortly this important thoroughfare will return to its primitive condition of a steep mountain side thickly covered with brush. This road was built by the Kaweah Colony, a cooperative association of lumbermen designed to cut tbe redwood timber of the Giant Forest and mine the marble along the Marble Fork River. The Colony road starts at an elevation of 1,500 feet and runs on a perfectly even grade to 6,300 feet. According to the books of the Kaweah Colony its construction required an outlay of $65,000, and it is the only permanent improvement left by the association, the title to their land having been taken up by the Government just as they were maturing plans for cutting the Giant Forest. This road was constructed to within 2 miles of the redwoods, though a 9-mile trail is now the only thoroughfare open to the tourist from the end of the Colony Mill road grade. Wagons can not approach nearer than 20 miles from the forest.
Resort must be had to the mountain trail for all travel through the Sequoia Park. Of these trails there are many, some made by hunters, some by cattle men, and others by the troops in attempting to eject these trespassers. All are poorly marked, and many were obliterated by the invading sheep last season. No attempt was made to follow anything like an even grade in their construction, and their condition is not inviting to the average tourist. The work of improving these trails, inaugurated by the troops stationed here, has been renewed this year so far as our reduced numbers would permit. Considerable improvement has been made on the Wilhelm Cut-Off trail and a good temporary bridge thrown across the East Fork, thus lessening the distance from the main camp to Hockett Meadows by 3 miles and avoiding some very poor trail as well. The work of blazing, trimming out the trails, and posting direction boards has been continued, but a single detachment of 25 men is too fully occupied by its patrol duties to permit any. thing like a systematic improvement of trails, if indeed this work were not beyond the scope of duties prescribed for the park guard.
GAME AND FISH.
It is extremely doubtful if the game within the Sequoia Park is as abundant as in years past. Hunting and trapping were altogether too common last season, and the herds of sheep are believed to have trampled out many nests of the game birds. The opportunity is still open, however, to make amidst the groves of sequoias a magnificent game preserve. Some of the rare game animals have recently become extinct. The elk and mountain sheep have all been killed off, and the more common game will be preserved with difficulty unless energetic steps are taken at once. Deer are still common but decreasing. Bears are still plenty, and three varieties are found—black, brown, and cinnamon. Fresh bear signs are of very frequent occurrence on the Mineral King road, and even close to the limits of camp. Mountain and valley quail are abundant, but the grouse are disappearing rapidly. Mountain lions, panthers, coyotes, and several varieties of the fox, with some other wild animals, are frequently found.
Fishing, in general, is very good, but the possibilities along this line have only been half developed or even explored. The first stocking of fish was in 1879 at Mineral King. Since then the North, South, East, Middle, and Marble forks of the Kaweah have had planted about 400,000 fry by the Visalia Sportsman's Club, drawing their supply from the State hatchery. Immediately east of the Park, Cliff Canyon, Monarch, and Eagle lakes have been stocked by interested individuals. Three hundred miles of streams tributary to the Kern are barren of trout, while 200 lakes in the watersheds of the Kings, Kern, and Kaweah rivers are ready and waiting to become most beautiful fishing resorts. The lakes and streams of the Sierras are most favorable for fish culture, and if a systematic stocking should be attempted the region would become famous with the fisherman and the tourist. The Kern and Kings rivers are already well known for their rainbow and New Hampshire brook trout, fish that are game, too, while the Golden Trout Creek, near Mount Whitney, is the only known habitat of these most beautiful golden trout. From the experience of local sportsmen it seems most practicable to plant the adult fish, but the transportation of fully grown fish is difficult and no time has been available for that purpose
It has been reported that fires in the sequoia forests are the result generally of carelessness, sometimes of intent or accident. Sheep herders, in years past, have been known to deliberately start fires froin pure malice.
From observation this season the camper is generally very careful about banking his fires and considerate in his use of wood, while the sheep herder is no longer a frequenter of the parks. Lightning is the main cause of fires in the Sierras. On July 24, four fires, at intervals of several miles, were started by lightning. Squads were immediately dispatched to the burning timber, and, with the aid of a heavy rain, succeeded in controlling every fire, while all four were completely extinguished in less than a week. The danger of a terrible and destructive fire in the Giant Forest is becoming more imminent every year, owing to the dry débris which covers the floor of the forest to a depth of several feet.
The titles of lands in the two parks, generally taken from the State as “swamp land,” shouid be extinguished. There are sixteen different owners, but their combined tracts, by the county records of March 1, 1899, only aggregate 5,440 acres, and there is but little value attached to the land since the country surrounding the meadows is strictly guarded by the Government, thus making the tracts of private land too small for profitable grazing, and of no great value for the cutting of timber. The Atwell sawmill bas again started, and is fast denuding that vicinity of a most beautiful grove of sequoias. The property is leased for three years yet, and the rent is a certain percentage on the lumber actually cut, really setting a premium on the death of the big trees; and for what purpose? Only to make shingles, posts, and flume boards! This estate should be acquired by the Government at once, and thus save this most beautiful sequoia grove. There are seven groves in all within the park boundaries, but this is the only one to which a title was ever completely proved.
MINERAL DEPOSITS AND SPRINGS.
The mineral deposits of the parks are varied but not rich. The Marble Fork took its name from the mines of white marble along its course, and some attempts were once made to explore several of the caves in the mountains supposed to promise black marble, but with indifferent success. There are several lead veins, and the Mineral King district was worked for gold and iron. There is some revival of interests in copper prospecting this summer, and several claims are staked not far from the park lines, but in general the ores seem to be too poor in quality to warrant the heavy costs of transportation. There is a wealth of beautiful springs within the parks, many of them supposed to possess medicinal properties of value. Iron, soda, sulphur, and salt springs prevail.
A PARK CUSTODIAN.
The moral effect of the presence of United States troops prevents much trespassing during the summer months, but at present it is inexpedient to station troops here in winter, and thus for six months of every year the park is at the mercy of hunter, trapper, and woodman. I would recommend the appointment of two guardians of the parks, whose duties, during the absence of the troops, should be to inspect all portions of both parks thoroughly and often and carry out the immediate orders of the Secretary of the Interior and enforce the existing park regulations to the letter, they having power and authority to make arrests and prosecute all trespassers. In the summer months they should be placed
. under the orders of the acting superintendent and would be available as guides. A good salary should accompany this appointment, as it would be necessary for the guards to employ two horses each and at least one pack animal, if a thorough patrol be maintained. The guardian should be a man of force and energy, as well as ingenuity and ability in mountain travel. A slight beginning in this direction has been made this season by attaching to the command a duly commissioned representative of the California State fish and game commission.
A PERMANENT CAMP.
A permanent camping site is still badly needed. Without doubt a better trail should be constructed to Hockett Meadows, where an excel. lent drill ground and target range are available; but this camp would not be suitable for occupancy before June 15 nor after October 1. The Atwell estate, if acquired by the Government, would furnish the best place, and is more centrally located than the present site. There is still uncertainty about the title to this property at Weishar's Mill and good reason to believe that it is part of the public domain, though not of the National Park. This question has been avoided too long, and the final survey should be directed.
THE GENERAL GRANT PARK.
The General Grant National Park contains but 4 square miles. However, the proximity of lumber camps, the comparative ease of access to visitors and the cattle industry which surrounds it, together with the fact that the 40,000 acres adjoining the park on the north and owned by the Sanger Lumber Company is now leased to sheepmen make its proper patrol more difficult than would appear. This park was established solely to preserve a grove of exceedingly large Sequoias, many of which are of historic interest. The tree “General Grant” was named in honor of the General while he was still in command of the armies in 1867. The stump and log of the immense tree exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial are well-preserved objects of interest. Another log has been so burned that a cavalryman can ride through its whole length 125 feet. The stump of the World's Fair tree is to be found north of the Grant Park. This was not so large as many in the National parks, but was less difficult to cut and transport. The trees of the Giant Forest are better preserved than those of Grant Park. The “General Grant” itself has been badly burned and scarred. For a hundred feet up the trunk, can be seen sticks and arrows shot into the bark years ago and bearing the names of enthusiastic admirers who visited the region before the present rules were enforced. The largest tree in the Giant Forest is the “General Sherman,” 341 feet in diameter at its base. This is conceded to be the largest and finest tree in the world, rivaling the Eucalypti of Australia in height and far surpassing everything else in bulk. Another clean and healthy Sequoia, which has stood sentinel over the Sierras and the Pacific for more than a thousand years is called the "Admiral Dewey.” Several of the more prominent trees have been given names of meaning to Americans and are always referred to as if objects of intelligence. Visitors are generally content to stand uncov. ered and almost mute from respect to these dignified monarchs of our forests. Few attempt to molest the big trees.
THE SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK,
Before making any recommendations regarding the future of the national reserve, I would respectfully invite attention to a few facts relative to the Sequoia and General Grant National Parks and to the forest reservation in their immediate vicinity. These parks are of such recent creation, so difficult of access for visitors, and, consequently, little advertised, that they are slightly known to the people and not at all appreciated by the tourist.
The Sequoia Park is situated in the eastern part of Tulare County, and occupies seven townships, or 252 square miles in area. From 6 to 12 miles east of the park is the main divide of the Sierras, running north and south. The top of this range is steep, bare, and rugged rock, broken and irregular, and passable in but few places. The high wall, averaging about 14,000 feet, completely separates the country on one side from that on the other.
The Sequoia Park is traversed by the four main branches of the Kaweah River, viz: the Marble, Middle, East, and South forks, all having their origin in this main divide of the Sierras and entering the park on the east side at an elevation averaging 6,000 feet, and falling in their short course across the reserve about 4,000 feet. Between these streams are ridges or spurs from the main divide of the Sierra Nevadas. These spurs run in a general east and west direction, and are not quite