The Wonders of Kings Canyon National Park

Many people have heard of Sequoia National Park, but Kings Canyon National Park, which lies just north of the Sequoia Park, has received less public attention. In the article below the reader will find a large number of reasons why the California traveler should consider taking a side trip from the Sequoia forest into the wonders of Kings Canyon Park.

The wonders of Kings Canyon National Park have awed geologists, captivated botanists and intrigued ecologists. The wonders of Kings Canyon National Park have been available for public view since March 4, 1940. In 1965 the wonders of the Park grew greatly, when the Park service merged Kings Canyon Park with Cedar Groove and Tehipite Parks. The Park Service now invites school students to attend one or more of the programs held in the natural neighborhoods of Kings Canyon National Park.

Kings Canyon National Park, which was formerly called Grant National Park, contains the deepest canyon within the United States. This canyon, which descends down from its top a total of 8,000 feet, resulted from the eroding action of the South Fork of the Kings River. The Park's deep valley is accessible from only one end of the Park. Park authorities have not constructed any roads or paths in the deepest part of Kings Canyon.

For the botanist, the tall evergreen trees of Kings Canyon National Park continue to offer evidence of the heights to which a plant can grow. Kings Canyon National Park covers land that lies just north of Sequoia National Park. The striking elevation change in Kings Canyon Park, an ascent from 1,369 ft. at the base to 14,491 ft. at the highest point, creates in the Park a rich diversity of plant life, including those plants that remain green throughout the year.

The smaller trees of Kings Canyon National Park, those that lie under the soaring Sequoias, blend the branches of mariposa and manzanita evergreens with the limbs of Jeffrey Pine, oak and chaparral. Botanists feel content that this plant diversity remains fairly safe.  Botanists have previously studied the asbestos like bark of the Sequoia, a bark that serves as a sort of protective shield against wildfires.

Kings Canyon National Park contains more than just forests. Kings Canyon Park also contains many meadows. Botanists can find a variety of grasses, sedges and wildflowers within Kings Canyon National Park. Within the forest, the patches of low-lying plants contain almost exclusively varieties of shade tolerant herbs.

Kings Canyon National Park has provided ecologists with yet more evidence of how changes in an area's native habitat can create unexpected harm. Some years ago several species of fish were introduced into the then fishless lakes of Kings Canyon National Park. Time has shown that at least one of those fish species prefers to include in its diet the eggs of the foothill yellow-legged frog. As a result, the population of that frog species has diminished, and is on the brink of becoming endangered.

Ecologists can take heart in the fact that most of the other animals in the Park have not had to deal with harmful changes to their habitat. The reptiles of Kings Canyon National Park have remained unaffected by the fish in the lakes. The Park continues to support a large number of western fence lizards. The colorful orange California newt likewise runs happily among the grasses of Kings Canyon Park.

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