For Immediate Release: March 7, 2023
Contact: Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, Phone: (559) 679-2866
Reference Number: 8550-2311
Sequoia National Park anticipated to close Thursday, other closures in Kings Canyon National park possible
Due to a predicted major precipitation event at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the Ash Mountain entrance to Sequoia National Park is anticipated to close on Thursday, March 9, at 6 pm. Closures may occur throughout Kings Canyon National Park depending upon how the weather system unfolds.
The parks expect the forecasted atmospheric river to cause major snow melt, in addition to significant precipitation. Recent storm systems have deposited many feet of snow in the mountains, but the National Weather Service predicts that the upcoming storm will be warmer, with the snow line at approximately 9,000 feet. Coupled with the fact that many slopes throughout the parks are denuded of vegetation following the 2021 KNP Complex wildfire, there is major potential for flooding, landslides, serious road damage, and other impacts, both in the parks and in surrounding communities.
“The predicted storm could have significant impacts, particularly on roadways damaged by previous storms,” Ned Kelleher, Incident Commander for the parks’ storm response team said. “While we appreciate the desire to get out into the parks, we urge you to prioritize your safety in the coming days. We will work diligently to restore access as soon as we can responsibly do so.”
At this time, we do not expect that it will be possible to restore access to the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park any sooner than March 17, and the actual date is likely to be later. While the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park remains open at this time, we strongly discourage the public from attempting to visit the parks during an active storm. If you must travel in the parks, remember to carry tire chains, food, water, warm clothing, and a flashlight in your vehicle.
Park resources are focusing on storm preparedness. This includes improving emergency access for employees who live in the parks, clearing road culverts, and checking on propane tanks, roof stability, fire hydrants, and emergency vehicles, and more.