I recently spent two days enjoying the Giant Forest areas. The weather was almost perfect with a slight chill at times. The Trees and vegetation looked fantastic like all the other times I've been there. I hiked lots of trails and took in the original Kaweah Colony Mill road. The road wasn't easy to find since the NPS didn't have any signs off the Crystal Cave road. I got lost and had to get some help from a ranger working at the cave parking lot. The old road is something to see with its scenery and knowledge of its history. All of the people before 1927 had to travel on that road to get to Giant Forest. I'm sure lots of horse and buggies, model "T's" and stagecoaches travel on it. Last year was the 100 year celebration of the completion of that road.
On this trip I tried to represent our Sequoia Park Giant Forest group and talked to lots of people. I had mostly positive responses from the people that I talked to. Everyone seemed nice and interested in Giant Forest. I did learn some things concerning causes of Giant Forest Village destruction. It still appears that my original thoughts of Col. John White being the force behind the Giant Forest Village demise is correct. White, during his time as Superientendent of Sequoia Park (1920-1947), created the mold for future Parks "Creed". His philosophies about increased preservation and reduced usage became his theme. I saw next to some trees in the Hazelwood area, a picture of John White and it said :He was an "Obstructionist" for Giant Forest and wanted it said on his tomb stone and epitaph that he wanted to be known for being an "Obstructionist". I took this to mean that he wanted to obstruct human usage and buildings in Giant Forest. Park employees are taught and required to this creed. I find my self on the edge of "Pro-Preservationist" and "Pro-Usage" and at times side on one side or the other. Maybe a balance of both as it was in the beginning.
The Giant Forest area is beautiful and
natural looking, but without many people. At night, its usage is dead. I remember the village being busy and
lots of people enjoying everything. Taking humans out of the equation and pure preservation is not right, in my
opinion. There are lots of inaccesable areas in the higher mountains that already have pure preservation and
that will probably stay that way. I have a thought of an analogy that might be appropriate: Lets say you hire
someone to take care of your car and keep it in top running order. This person does a good job taking care of
what ever it needs and washes/waxes it daily. After a while, the person gets doing his job so well that he starts
putting restrictions on how you use your car, starts charges you money for use and later stops you from being
able to use it. Could this analogy be simular to controlling our "Parks" including destroying a thriving Village
inside Giant Forest. Did they "Go too Far"? There were lots of foreigners visiting the Village. I talked to a few
in my limited German words. They found the "Gold of California" and maybe for the entire United States when
they came to Giant Forest. Unfortunately they couldn't get something to eat or drink,while visiting.