The settlers in Tulare County loved the beauty of the mountains. They wanted to preserve some of the trees and rivers so people would always know this beauty. In 1890, Sequoia National Park was established by the federal government in Washington D.C. This park is named for the giant redwood trees that grow there. Today, millions of visitors come every year to camp, hike, and fish.
Before it was a national park, the area in the high mountains attracted many people. They hunted and trapped the deer, bears, and other animals. They cut trees for lumber. They sent their sheep and cattle into the forest to eat and get fat. And they mined for silver and gold. In 1867 some men found silver in the Mineral King valley. People came from all over the world to try to mine the silver, but not much was found.
In the 1880s some people formed a special town they called “Kaweah Colony.” They built houses near Three Rivers and built a long road into the forest. They wanted to cut the trees to make money. When Sequoia National Park was established, they could no t cut the trees. The road they built is still there.
Now Mineral King is part of Sequoia National Park. Thousands of people go to the park each year to hike, camp, and fish. People enjoy watching animals like deer, squirrels, and marmots. Sometimes people see a black bear or even a mountain lion. There are many birds, like robins, woodpeckers, and jays, and there are lizards, snakes, and salamanders and frogs along the creeks.
Plants in the national park are beautiful. In the spring, wildflowers pain the hillsides yellow, blue, purple, and white. Aspen trees turn bright gold in the fall. Redbud, dogwood, and buckeye trees have beautiful flowers in the spring and summer. Dark green pine needles are beautiful against the white snow of winter. The Giant Sequoia trees are thousands of years old. One tree, the General Sherman tree, is the largest living thing on the earth!