Greetings from Sequoia National Park. With opening lines like that, I should be writing postcards. But then, I’d have no room to pontificate about the most peaceful place I’ve seen in years.
Sequoia is California’s oldest National Park – and yet, the land management ideas here are revolutionary. The belief that a national treasure can be “loved to death” has been taken to heart, and some major changes have been made in the last few years.
Gone are the 282 buildings that were choking the world’s largest and oldest Sequoia trees. These decaying structures were torn down and the Giant Forest is being restored to its natural beauty with a wonderful interactive museum now on the site.
A year ago, President Bush visited this park. He was the first sitting president to come here and he stayed where I am staying this week – in the new Wuksachi Village. Four hours from Oakland and just 45 minutes from the Highway 180 entrance to the park, Wuksachi has 102 guest rooms and a warm, inviting lodge with exceptional food and drink. From here, you’re close to waterfall trails, the Crystal Caves, and of course, Mount Whitney – the highest point in the contiguous United States. It’s the beauty of Yosemite without the crowds.
Then there’s something so awesome, you need to see it to believe it. A seedling when cavemen roamed the earth, The General Sherman Sequoia is the world’s largest living tree. It was a giant when Christ was born and it could live in this national park another 1300 years if we don’t mess things up. In the words of John Muir: “We, as stewards, have an awesome responsibility. Imagine what will be here for our children if we fail.”
After this week’s visit, I feel certain the caretakers of Sequoia National Park are on the right track.