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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 con. ceded 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
so high as the parent ridge. As a rule they enter the park at an elevation of very near 13,000 feet, and in some instances much over that. At the western line these ridges often have an altitude of 10,000 feet. The park is thus crossed and recrossed by these several ridges, distant from each other about 3 to 5 miles, and separated only by the deepest of gorges, and each particular ridge with its own system of spurs perpendicular to the east and west ridges. To travel in the parkor the tourist to see the big trees and other points, well worth the traveler's time and exertions, it is necessary to cross these ridges and these gorges. Two general ways are open. One to follow the course of the stream down one canyon to its juncture with the next. This has been followed in several cases, but with no resulting ease of travel, as the fact that one of these streams drops 4,000 feet in a distance of only 2 miles on the map, would prove. Then, too, a little thought or a glance at a map will show what a considerable time and unexpectedly great distance this plan of travel will involve. As the ridges are altogether too rough and rocky, too jagged and sharp to permit any attempt at following their back bones, the only other path to pursue is to find a pass across the mountains. This has been done in every case, and in a few instances two passes are known. These passes are almost invari. ably just to the east of the park line and in the dip or natural saddle of each respective ridge. The lowest of these saddles is 10,000 feet high, and this shows that there is no easy way to see the Sierras, while it is right to add, no easy way of carrying out the strict letter of the regulations for the troops detailed here. These natural obstacles make wide detours necessary and rapidity of movement impossible.
With this understanding of the difficulties of travel in the park, I would suggest a few of the objects and sights which interest the visitor. The main points of entrance are the Mineral King road, the Old Colony Mill road, and the South Fork trail, all leading across the western boundary of the park. Over these paths is considerable travel each year by people of the San Joaquin Valley, driven from their homes by the oppressive heat to seek comfort and health in the invigorating atmosphere of the higher altitudes. Providing these people with roads across the reserve to their camping places would be one of the advantages, but perhaps not the purpose of the park's development. But the Sequoia Park itself is not wanting in objects of interest or in scenes of grandeur. Below 5,000 feet there is very little timber, the slopes and foothills being covered with a stiff and thick and almost impenetrable growth of manzanita brush from 4 to 12 feet high. Once across this belt the mountains, except where precipitous, are plentifully supplied with a growth of timber, including yellow pine, sugar pine, fir, spruce, and cedar.
Above 8,000 feet are tamarack and a peculiar stunted pine called “Pinus Contartus." The groves of the Sequoia gigantea are between 5,000 and 7,500 feet altitude. This rapid change in the vegetation is common to all the trails having an easterly course into the park and is interesting to camper and tourist alike.
Beginning with the South Fork trail, this is destined, if once improved, to be a popularly traveled route. For a time it leads the tourist through a sweltering heat, with but few of the bubbling springs or little green meadows which so refresh the tired and parched traveler. However, the pinnacle of the most prominent peak once reached, the veil is lifted from one of the grandest panoramas of the Sierra Nevadas. From “Homer's Nose," almost perpendicularly beneath it and 7,000 feet below, one may see the South Fork through its tortuous windings on the way through the canyon to join its sisters, the East and North forks of the
INT 99—MIS, PT 1—33