SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park ranger described on social media what it has been like working in the park during this unusual round of atmospheric rivers that have brought high amounts of snow to the area.
Joseph (no last name provided) arrived in Central California from Northeastern Pennsylvania, as he posted on the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Facebook page.
Joseph wrote that, in Pennsylvania, he had experienced camping in sub-zero temperatures and worked outside in whiteout conditions – so he thought he knew all about winter. That was until he started working at Kings Canyon National Park a year ago, where he says he has experienced “some of the most extreme winters in California history.”
One of the major factors in this experience he mentions is remoteness, something he says is present in the territories in most national parks.
Joseph, who resides in Grant Grove, wrote that it takes two hours each way to get groceries in the summer when road conditions are ‘good’. In winter Joseph says, it can be an all-month between restocks. During a winter storm, it can take up to an entire day to go grocery shopping between the tire chains process, coolers filled with snow, and road conditions that require skilled careful driving.
Additionally, Joseph mentions power outages (common during winter storms) that may last between an hour and a week.
“This is where candlelight and wood stoves come in,” Joseph adds.
2023 thus far has also battered us with major storms, cold and warm. The cold storms brought snow, snow, and more snow, that gradually buried our homes and offices to the eaves – and then more snow. Living in such an accidental igloo is a neat idea, but as our muscles ache from shoveling our front doors clear over and over again, the novelty begins to wear off.Joseph, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park ranger.
According to Joseph, the warmer storms have resulted in numerous mud and rock slides something he says is likely to occur because so many slopes in the parks are denuded of vegetation, one of the effects of the massive 2021 KNP Complex Fire.
He says that when these slides hit park roads they leave park residents without access to the outside world, sometimes for weeks. And even when he says people love to be in that area, not having the ability to get out it’s hard on the community.
When he asked himself in the Facebook post “why do I want here?” He says his short answer is that he loves being tasked with protecting the largest living trees on earth.
I love being a steward of some of the most extensive and glorious wilderness areas of our country. And I love to serve the public by facilitating amazing experiences in these places I love so much – yet another reason I am looking forward to restored access to the parks!Joseph, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park ranger
He ended the post by saying that they will keep the community posted with updates on the park’s reopening date and that they are working hard to keep the parks beautiful and safe.