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Preservation: Mineral King Mandate

Mineral King’s historic designation and preservation process has traveled a bumpy road. SINCE 1978, THE COMMUNITY'S HISTORIC STATUS HAS BEEN CONSIDERED BY SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK TO BE OVERSHADOWED BY THE 1978 LAW WHICH OPENED POSSIBILITIES OF A GRADUAL DEMOLITION OF THE COMMUNITY. In recent months, however, the National Park Service has decided it should consider a determination of the valley’s historic resources. The ride to date has not been easy.

Part Four: The Current Preservation Process

RECENT EVENTS GUIDING THE PROCESS OF HISTORIC DESIGNATION AND PRESERVATION

Fall of 1997 The National Park Service announced a new General Management Plan for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks had been approved for funding by Congress.
Winter of 1997-1998 National Park Service Director Kennedy requested a task force look at the issue of special use permits for approximately 1,400 cabins in the national parks and prepare a report. One of the results of that report was an agreement between Congress and Sequoia National Park that the permit issue in Mineral King would be resolved within the upcoming General Management Plan process.
March 1998 A Mineral King Preservation Society application for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places was sent to the National Park Service Federal Preservation Office for determination of eligibility.
The National Park Service GMP team for Sequoia requested funding for their own Mineral King Determination of Eligibility for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. An impartial and unbiased assessment of historic designation eligibility was deemed critical to the development and success of a new General Management Plan.
The Mineral King Preservation Society application for nomination to the Historic Register was held without determination by the Federal Preservation Office.
April 1998 Mineral King Advocates presented a plan for establishment of the Mineral King Living Historic Community to be implemented within the General Management Plan.
Summer and Fall of 1998 A comment period and public meetings for input into the GMP process ensued.
September 1998 The National Park Service Determination of Eligibility was released. A historic district which included three tracts of Mineral King cabins was determined eligible for nomination to the National Register
Winter of 1999 A second round of public meetings was held for discussion of General Management Plan proposed alternatives. The alternative of a Mineral King Living Historic Community was not included.
April 1999 A proposal for a Partnership Agreement with the National Park Service was presented to the Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks by the Mineral King Preservation Society and Mineral King District Association. This proposal offered guidelines for a management partnership between the National Park Service and a non-profit organization once the Mineral King Historic District is nominated to the National Register. A request was made that the Partnership Agreement be incorporated in the General Management Plan.

The Sequoia and Kings Canyon Parks General Management Plan team has expressed concern that Mineral King may be at the forefront of a potential tidal wave of controversy over the 1,400 special use permits within the National Park system.

HOWEVER, THE REAL CONCERN IS THE POTENTIAL LOSS OF AN IMPORTANT HISTORIC COMMUNITY BECAUSE IT HAPPENS TO LIE WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE VENUE OF THAT PERMIT SYSTEM.

Your comments to the GMP Team, Sequoia National Park offices, the National Park Service and your Congressional delegates continue to be of great importance.

Next: Preservation, Mineral King Mandate, Part Five
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