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First published in 1990, this updated and enlarged edition of Challenge of the Big Trees stands as the new definitive history of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Located in the southern Sierra Nevada of California, these twin parks, preserve an astounding sweep of natural and cultural resources, including not only the world's largest trees but also some of the most spectacular mountain terrain to be found anywhere in the nation. With its origins in the nineteenth century, the story of the two parks conveys the larger narrative of nature preservation in the United States. Generously illustrated with historic photographs and thirty-five custom maps, this new edition brings the story of Sequoia and the Kings Canyon into the twenty-first century, documenting the major changes made in the parks since 1990 and addressing the myriad challenges the parks still face, including climate change and evolving attitudes toward nature.
William C. Tweed is the author of Uncertain Path: A Search for the Future of National Parks and has served as Chief Park Naturalist in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Lary M. Dilsaver, Professor Emeritus of Historical Geography at the University of South Alabama, is the author of Cumberland Island National Seashore: A History of Conservation Conflict.
"As I look back over my nearly forty years of national park experiences, I can reflect both on our accomplishments of the past and our challenges into the future. We need periodic reminders, like this fine book, of how far we have come, most often the result of dedicated citizens and professionals. We also need inspiration and optimism that we will succeed in caring for these special places. Within these pages I invite you to wander but, more importantly, to spend time with the Big Trees, for they have seen many challenges, and yet they still stand."
– Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director, National Park Service
"Big Trees and the Giant Forest, Kings Canyon and Mineral King, Mt. Whitney and Mt. Brewer, Muir Pass and the Kaweah Basin – una gran Sierra Nevada – could features within two national parks possibly bear a more superlative and emphatic body of names? Looming above California's southern San Joaquin Valley and annually hosting more than 1,500,000 visitors, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks preserve precious natural and cultural resources, from groves of giant sequoia and historic CCC camps to grizzly bear ghosts and the utopian Kaweah Colony. Contested landscapes for more than 125 years, the spectacular sites in these twin parks are very much under siege, ever so capably documented in this book's historical photographs, clean maps, and fine prose."
– Paul F. Starrs, Professor of Geography, University of Nevada, Reno, and author of Let the Cowboy Ride: Cattle Ranching in the American West and, with photographs by Peter Goin, Black Rock