Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks open for day use
On Thursday, June 4, at daybreak, park gates at Ash Mountain, Mineral King, and Cedar Grove were opened for the first time since the COVID-19-caused closure on March 25. From reports at Ash Mountain, visitation was steady but no long lines that are inevitable with the resumption of fee collections and during the busiest months of the year: July and August. The reopening of the nearby national parks is a relief to gateway businesses who depend on tourism and all nature-loving visitors who have been spending time indoors following Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home orders.
Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, the parks’ public affairs officer, issued this statement on reopening day:
“We are not collecting fees at this time because the National Park Service is working on installing a new payment system, a mitigation related to COVID-19 safety,” said Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, the parks’ public affairs officer. “As the system is ready, we will resume fees and that can happen at any time. There is no date for resumption of fee collections at this time.” News Briefs: Sequoia-Kings Canyon open
The video interviews, conducted at the Sherman Tree and Moro Rock during a pre-reopening media day on Wednesday, June 3, explain how social distancing and new safety protocol will protect park employees and visitors during the Phase 1 reopening of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Hotels and short-term rentals to remain closed
Carrie Monteiro, public information officer for Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency, reiterated on Thursday, June 4, that all hotels and short-term rentals are to remain closed unless they are housing essential workers or emergency responders. News Briefs: Sequoia-Kings Canyon open
“We are currently following the stage 2.5 guidelines as approved by the California Department of Health that specifically states that hotels and short-term vacation rentals remain closed for tourism,” Montiero said. “The proclamation of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors and the accelerated reopening approval granted by CDPH did not include the reopening of hotel and vacation rentals for tourism. News Briefs: Sequoia-Kings Canyon open
Questions regarding the current lodging and tourism guidelines may be directed to Carrie Montiero, public information officer, via phone (559) 624-8007 or email CMontiero1@tularehhsa.org.
Hotels and short term vacation rentals are to remain closed to tourists but they can house essential workers and first responders.
River View Lounge and Restaurant reopening
For the last several years, there was plenty of speculation as to what might happen if longtime owners, Rex and Dorletta Hildebrand, ever decided to sell the River View Restaurant and Lounge. Now that question has been answered and new owners Lisa Bonds and David McDermott are excited to complete the River View’s remodeling and reopen Three Rivers’s neighborhood bar and restaurant that has been closed for nearly three months.
The plan is to reopen on Tuesday, June 16, but opening will be a challenge with the COVID-19 guidelines for bars and restaurants that require social distance and limiting capacity of how many patrons can be seated inside. News Briefs: Sequoia-Kings Canyon open
“We know there are hundreds of River View faithful that ask us constantly when are we going to open,” Lisa said. “If they all show up at once it will be hard for everyone to social distance. Our priority is to keep our workers safe, and we are looking for the cooperation of our patrons to help and understand.”
Lisa also said they are planning for the return of the popular Karaoke Night on Friday, June 19.
“There are guidelines that say for bars to stay open they must serve food,” Bonds said. “It will be challenge but we will work it out.” News Briefs: Sequoia-Kings Canyon open
Weekend cool-down in the three-day forecast
By Saturday, June 6, high temperatures will be 25 degrees lower than they were on Thursday, June 4. It’s Kaweah Country’s farewell to spring as summer-like conditions return Tuesday, June 9, when daytime highs will once again be in the seasonable 90s. Following that day, the 10-day forecast features highs of 80s and 90s, closer to normal for this time of year, but no triple digits.
Those highs and lows won’t make much difference to the storage level at Lake Kaweah. As predicted, the peak storage level of 150,000 acre feet occurred on May 31. On Thursday, June 4, that storage level was 139,803 acre feet and dropping gradually by the hour. The lake elevation was 692.34 feet above mean sea level (storage capacity elevation is 715 feet amsl); the mean inflow from the Kaweah drainage was 411 cfs; the outflow was 800 cfs. Lake Kaweah is now shrinking, and more shoreline will be exposed daily. News Briefs: Sequoia-Kings Canyon open
The eastern shoreline near the Slick Rock boat ramp will be receding back to the river channel as Lake Kaweah is currently in the release mode for the summer season. News Briefs: Sequoia-Kings Canyon open