Located east of Fresno in east central California, Kings Canyon National Park is the sister of Sequoia National Park. Both parks are administered as a single unit. Kings Canyon was established as a national park in 1940.
The park occupies a portion of the western slope of the southern Sierra Nevada, the 400-mile-long mountain range along the eastern edge of California. The composition and structure of the Sierra Nevada provide some significant geological formations in the parks.
The park provides long stretches of road and trails through a magnificent wilderness, yielding access to the largest trees on earth and the deepest canyon in the United States.
Other interesting geological features of the Kings park are spectacular examples of glacial erosion, including hundreds of alpine lakes and several glacially eroded canyons. Other natural phenomena include more than 200 caves that contain Pleistocene-era fossils, rare minerals and unique animals.
Kings Canyon National Park is rich in wildlife. The park was established more than 65 years ago to protect the giant sequoias adjoining Sequoia National Park. They include nearly 40 giant sequoia groves that contain about one third of all the naturally occurring sequoias. Voluminous bands of mixed-conifer forests surround the giant sequoia groves.
Among the zoological resources of the park, black bears (Ursus americanus) constitute one of the many wildlife species the National Park Service is assigned to protect. Black bears range throughout both parks, which have a long-standing human-bear management program for the protection and care of the animal.
The animals found within the parks bear resemblance to those living in surrounding regions, which are experiencing an erosion of species populations. As a result, the wildlife security function of the parks is becoming increasingly important.
The Kings Canyon National Park’s beauty is promoted solely by the Sequoia Natural History Association. It is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to preserving the natural and historic value of the park, along with other national parks in the United States. The association is committed to enriching the experiences of visitors and elevating public awareness through educational programs, publications, and financial support.
The park also is a unit of the International Biosphere Preserve Program. Notwithstanding the protected status of resources within park boundaries, threats still exist. They include air pollutants, invasions by alien species, habitat fragmentation, and rapid climatic change.