100 years for the historic Kaweah Post Office

Update as of May 27, 2010: Apparently mail will still be delivered to the boxes at the Kaweah Post Office after May 31. But, the last day to send any outgoing mail from the small historic structure will be tomorrow. Read article in the Visalia Time Delta

The Kaweah Postal Service will celebrate its 100th birthday on May 17, 2010.
It has been known as the smallest post office in the country that was still operational.
The US Postal Service will close the Kaweah Post Office at the end of this month.
Read about the History of the Kaweah Colonists who built the it in 1910.

From the Kaweah CommonwealthIn 1886, the Kaweah Colony was established as a tent camp at Advance on the North Fork. The utopian socialists began to attract attention, both locally and nationwide, with the building of a road to access timber claims in the Giant Forest. On May 17, 1890, an application for the Kaweah Post Office at Advance was granted. In 1910, the current 10-by-12-foot structure was constructed with a materials cost of about $15 and was moved several times to accommodate its patrons. In 1926, the post office was moved to its present location on North Fork Drive. On Oct. 24, 1948, it was designated a State Historic Landmark.

Read article in the May 14 edition of the Kaweah Commonwealth….

The Kaweah Post Office is located at 43795 North Fork Drive in Three Rivers. See map.


photo source: www.panoramio.com


photo source: historicphotoarchive.com


photo source: www.flickr.com

Celebrating 70 Years for the Sequoia Natural History Association

Sequoia Natural History Association
“Celebrating 70 Years” Partnership Weekend
April 23, 24, 25,  2010

The first member gathering was at the Ash Mountain Headquarters in 1988. In 2010, we are bringing it back as we “Celebrate 70 Years”. Please join us for this special and exclusive event, dedicated to our SNHA members only. The programs will fill up quickly. Special activities will require smaller group sizes and are on a first-sign up, first registered basis. Deadline to register is April 9th, 2010. An itinerary packet will be mailed to you confirming your activity availability.

Friday, April 23 Park Partner Mixer – join the SNHA staff and members of the board of directors for an intimate reception and open conversation at the Ash Mountain Recreation Hall. Wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages will be served and an array of appetizers from “Around the World”.  Then, sit back and enjoy “Tracking the first Sierra Mountaineers: from Clarence King to Norman Clyde”- author Daniel Arnold will present slides and stories from his new book Early Days in the Range of Light.  Arnold spent four years retracing the routes of the original Sierra mountaineers.  In the spirit of his predecessors, he used only rudimentary equipment–no ropes, no harnesses, no specialized climbing shoes. In an artful blend of history, biography, nature, and adventure writing, along with dozens of photographs, Arnold brings to life both the journeys and the stunning terrain. 5:30pm to 7:30pm, $25 per person, limited to 40 guests

Saturday, April 24th (this is a entrance fee-free day!)
Tracking the Trail Day Hike
– join a SFI naturalist for a mid-morning walk in Giant Forest following the tracks of of local critters. 9:30am to 11:30am, limited to 14 members attending the dinner & member event.

Junior Ranger Family Day –  hosted by NPS and located at Hospital Rock, check out the hands-on exploration stations that provide a glimpse into the jobs of park rangers & cave naturalists.  Not just for kids! 10:00am to 2:00pm, free and open to all park visitors

Historic Tour of Park Headquarters
– join park experts as they introduce you to the working heart of the national parks, Ash Mountain Headquarters. 2:30pm to 4:00pm, free for members attending the dinner  & member event

Dinner & Member Event
– SNHA staff will transform Park Headquarters to a delightful dinner for our members.  Listen to the river roll by as we reminisce the good times of the past 70 years.  Guest speakers, free gifts, an exclusive, after-hours visitor center sale, tour of the SNHA office and more.  Dinner Menu: beef brisket, tomato-basil pasta, roasted veggies, garden salad, rolls & birthday cake 4:00pm to 7:00pm, $22 adults, $5 children, limited to 125 guests.

Under the Night Sky – check out the constellations and hear a tale or two about the legends of the night sky. Program will be held in the Ash Mountain area. 8:30pm, free for all SNHA members.

Sunday, April 25th
Foothills Wildflower Walk – spring is the ideal season to stroll the foothills of the Sierra. Flowers blooming, birds chirping as you gander with an expert in Sierra Nevada flora. 9:00am to 11:00am, limited to 14 members attending the dinner & member event

Breakfast & Barge Tour – enjoy a light breakfast and hop aboard a barge as you tour Lake Kaweah with a naturalist.  Learn the natural history of the area and observe wildlife from the water. 9:00am to 11:30am, $20.00 per person, limited to 15 people.

Call 559.565.4222 for more information. 
Become a member
of the Sequoia Natural History Association.


(photo from SNHA website)

Truth in Advertising…about the natural world

The National Parks Traveler asked on twitter: what’s wrong with this “Sequoia National Park” drawing on the back of a box of Safeway brand Rice Pockets Cereal?

“The answer is that it isn’t in a national park at all. If you could make out the writing on the sign on the tree in the drawing, you would read “Chandelier Tree.” That tree is located in Underwood Park (aka “Drive-Thru Tree Park”) in Leggett, California. That puts it about 450 miles northwest of Sequoia National Park. That’s not all, the Chandelier Tree isn’t even a Giant Sequoia. It’s a Coast Redwood.”

Read the full story by Jess Stryker of the National Parks Traveler here.
Follow the National Parks Traveler on twitter.

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I remember driving through this tree in Northern California
(when I was a kid in the 1950’s.)

Sequoia Speaks Series

This year, the Ken Burns’ ‘America’s Best Idea’ series captured the imagination of the entire nation. Discover the untold stories of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks  through the explorations and experiences of scientists, artists, and historians. Three Rivers Arts Center, 7-8 pm. All programs are free and open to the public.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 30, 2010
Diggin’ the Parks: Archeology and the National Park Service
Come learn more about the role archeology plays in the National Park Service and more specifically, in your parks: Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Park Archeologist Jane Allen will describe what archeologists do and what can you do to help maintain archeological resources when you’re visiting the parks.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2010
Science in the National Park Service: An Evolving Relationship
Join David Graber, Pacific West Region Chief Scientist, as he explores how science has informed park management and interpretation over the decades and how that evolution continues today.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2010
Women in the National Parks
Since the inception of the national parks, women have played a critical role in mission development, day-to- day operations, and living legacy. From early residents to national policymakers, Adrienne Freeman, Acting Public Affairs Specialist, will share stories of women who have shaped the picture of the modern day park service. Join us immediately following this presentation as we welcome Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ first female superintendent, Karen Taylor Goodrich.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2010
A Transect—Due East

Join artist and San Joaquin Valley native Matthew Rangel in his discussion of original lithographs inspired by his pilgrimage from the valley floor, through the foothills, and up to the high reaches of the Great Western Divide of the Southern Sierra.

Due East from Moro Rock ©Matthew Rangel

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2010
National Parks in a Changing World
Since 1872, national parks have been dedicated to the dream that they could protect forever the resources within them. In other words, they would be places that would never change. But what does promise mean now in a world dominated by processes like global climate change? To explore this thought-provoking question, local author Bill Tweed will present some key ideas from his new book Uncertain Path: A Search for the Future of National Parks, to be published later this year by the University of California Press.

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For more information, please call 559-565-4212.
Sequoia Speaks is presented by the National Park Service.

The Three Rivers Arts Center is on North Fork Drive,
a short way from the Hwy 198 turnoff.

Loving this Place

“I love this place.

From my yard today, I could see snow on the mountains and hills above me, so beautiful it almost took my breath away. I live on the fringe of wilderness, and the wild creatures are a treasured part of my life.  It is their place even more than mine.

An early sign of fall is the many tarantulas that come out and about, looking for mates. In apple season, I have watched a brown bear sitting under my apple tree, just outside of my solarium, calmly enjoying the fruit. I’ve seen many deer resting in the shade of my back yard in the summer, while alligator lizards do pushups on the sunny boulders.  Skunks leave scented calling cards, and raccoons wash their food in the cat’s water dish.  Tracks and scat report the presence of shy animals that we see only occasionally: bobcats, foxes, coyotes, and even cougars.

There are many birds. Some are migratory, especially small song birds that stay for a few days or weeks and move on. The Kaweah River is named after the Indian word for raven, and those intelligent birds are seen all around the area. Hawks scream above, and eagles can sometimes be seen soaring over the lake. Blue herons and white egrets collect in the wetlands.  Flocks of wild turkeys frequent certain neighborhoods, and everywhere local quail herd their many broods of chicks. The haunting calls of owls mark the night. Raucous scrub jays squabble for food and territory.

As winter approaches, woodpeckers beat their brains out hammering acorns into oak trees.  One creative couple has taken over a nearby metal power pole, dropping their acorns into a hole near the top, causing pinging sounds as the acorns travel downward.  It they keep it up enough years, perhaps the pole will sprout an oak tree?”

from the Christmas letter of artist, Mona Fox Selph,
one of the 21 artists on the Three Rivers Artists’ STUDIO TOUR 9,
coming this March 19-20-21 in Three Rivers. Tickets on sale now.


Tree Shadows, oil ©Mona Fox Selph

Tree Dance

Visiting the Park at this time of year offers a special experience.  Few visitors come now, so you have Giant Forest almost to yourself.  It has always been a mystery to me about why everyone seems to come at the same time to see the trees.  Wonder if the trees are lonely without us right about now?  Or are we just missing something wonderful by not hanging out with some very big friends?

Great source for where to stay in Three Rivers can be found here.
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photo by Phil Haack from his blog

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PS: tomorrow is the Holiday Bazaar in Three Rivers
from 9-4 at the Memorial Bldg.
Enjoy local creativity, from home jams to birdhouses and wreaths.
Don’t forget to sample the great cinnamon rolls!

Scanning from 100+ years in the past: John Muir’s hand to digital viewing

S5002-lg The newest digital collection at the University of the Pacific’s library will excite any John Muir enthusiast. The library has scanned more than 6,500 of his letters and posted them online. The library has also made collections of Muir’s photographs, drawings, and journals  online.

via the Sierra Magazine blog

image13
John Muir standing to the right of Teddy Roosevelt, circa turn of the 20th Century.
Base of Giant Sequioa tree behind these men, circa turn of the 1st Century.

Kaweah Watershed

10DueEastfromMoroRock-largeThe recent Kaweah Land and Arts Festival brought artists, poets, writers, naturalists and biologists together for a wonderful, continuing conversation about living and creating in the Kaweah Watershed.

Make sure you go see the exhibit at Arts Visalia this month at 214 E. Oak in Visalia CA.  See lithographs by Matthew Rangel and photographs by John Spivey author of The Great Western Divide, a History with Crow, Coyote and God. See also, johnspiveyfurniture.com.

Links to other contributors to the Festival are:
John Dofflemyer
: poet, conservationist and rancher
Paul Buxman: artist, farmer
Rob Hansen: biologist, naturalist, college professor
Tim Z. Hernandez: poet, performer
Sylvia Ross: author, poet, illustrator
Trudy Wischemann
: author, musician
William Tweed: author, naturalist

Sequoia Riverlands Trust: a regional, Central California, non-profit land trust dedicated to conserving the natural and agricultural legacy of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley.

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