Severe storms cause closures in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

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Thursday, January 19, 2023
Severe storms cause closures in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
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In the South Valley, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are dealing with severe damage caused by the recent storms.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- In the South Valley, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are dealing with severe damage caused by the recent storms.

Officials say the damage is so severe, it could lead to long-term park closures.

Currently, the furthest anyone can get in Sequoia National Park is the Hospital Rock Picnic Area.

In Kings Canyon National Park, the Grant Grove area is open, if you travel on Highway 180.

Officials say while some of the closures are unfortunate, it's the best call for everyone's safety.

"It's the road being undermined, culvert failures, it's boulders on the road, landslides, rockslides, areas where trees just have been demolished. We have a campground that was really just completely wiped out," explained Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, Chief of Communications for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

She says crews are not done assessing the damage, and residents within the park are not allowed to drive on certain roads until further notice.

"It's just a matter of finding a way to access everything and see what is everything, what is all the damage in the park right now."

She says they will be transparent with the community until a timeline of when the park could reopen is set.

"People are planning for spring break and summer and people with local businesses need to know how this affects their staff and their business."

The community is invited to a public meeting at the Three Rivers Memorial Building at 6 pm on Thursday.

Officials want to be transparent about the reality inside the park as they begin to figure out exactly how much time they'll need for repairs.

Some business owners say they're hopeful closures won't last for long and will be joining those meetings.