Commemorating African American History Month the National Park Service Looks at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
February 13, 2018 - Commemorating African American History Month the National Park Service looks at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California.
In 1903, the Buffalo Soldiers completed the first usable road into Giant Forest and the first trail to the top of Mt. Whitney (the tallest peak in the contiguous United States). Their leader, Colonel Charles Young, broke ground literally and figuratively in the park that year. Young, the third African American graduate of the U.S. military academy at West Point, was the first African-American superintendent of a national park.
In addition to protecting the park from poachers, wildfires, and timber thieves, Young was instructed to extend the wagon road. Breaking the sluggish pattern of previous military administrations, Young poured his energy into the project and by mid-August wagons were entering the mountain-top forest for the first time. Still not content, Young and his men extended the road to the base of the famous Moro Rock. During that summer, Young and his troops built as much road as the combined results of the three previous summers.