Severe Storm Impacts in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

SEKI

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, Chief of Communications, seki_public_affairs@nps.gov
Phone: (559) 679-2866
SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. January 12, 2023

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks has seen an extraordinary amount of precipitation this winter, with the last storm causing serious drainage failures, undermining the road at three different sections of the Generals Highway between Hospital Rock and Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park. Road crews are currently working to protect the integrity of the road before the upcoming series of storms in an effort to minimize longer term damage. Numerous land slides are blocking at least one lane of traffic. Damage is being assessed in collaboration with Federal Highways Administration engineers, and major repairs are expected before it will be safe to reopen to the public. As the weather stabilizes next week we expect to know more and provide an update.

“As with most of California, we are seeing precipitation that rivals all other storms experienced by long-term park employees in at least 30 years. What is unique and causing more challenges this year is a landscape that is still recovering from the 2021 KNP Complex fires. We’re seeing erosion, mud flows, rock slides and severe damage to our roadways and infrastructure,” Clay Jordan, Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks said. “Park staff and equipment are really being pushed to the max to minimize damage and impacts to visitor access. We are sensitive to the effects that park closures have on our local communities and will keep everyone informed as the situation develops.”

In Sequoia National Park, from Highway 198, the Foothills area is open to Hospital Rock Picnic Area, about 5 miles in from the entrance station. The highway above Hospital Rock will remain closed at least through the holiday weekend, meaning no access to snow or sequoias in Giant Forest, Lodgepole, Wolverton, or Wuksachi areas.

In Kings Canyon National Park, from Highway 180, the Grant Grove area is open. More weather is expected this weekend, and likely to make the area difficult to navigate. Crews will work to keep access to this area open for the holiday weekend, but conditions could change at any time with little or no warning.

For more information and current conditions visit the park website. Before heading up to the parks, always call (559) 565-3341 (1,1) for current road conditions and tire chain restrictions.



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