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April 2002

The past year has seen continuing cooperative efforts by the Mineral King community and the National Park Service to maintain and preserve the Mineral King cabins as important historic resources.

The Architectural Advisory Review Committee held several meetings, with representatives of the Mineral King Preservation Society, Sequoia National Park, and the Western District office of the National Park Service attending. "A Guide to the Repair and Maintenance of Historic Summer Homes" was developed by an independent professional cultural resources advisor with extensive input from the committee. This guide is now ready for publication.

An agreement between the National Park Service and the Mineral King Preservation Society dictates that issuance of the guide to cabin owners and users is dependent upon final listing of the Mineral King Road Cultural Landscape District into the National Register of Historic Places. An important step toward completion of this requirement was reached last year with the official determination of eligibility for listing of the nomination in the National Register. However, until the Mineral King Road Cultural Landscape District is actually listed in the National Register, all other efforts are at a standstill.

The actual listing has been delayed by a series of bureaucratic concerns regarding the correct procedures to be followed. Even a Memorandum of Understanding between the National Park Service and the Mineral King Preservation Society to implement a cooperative advisory status for the Architectural Advisory Committee is on hold while legal implications are researched by the Park. The Keeper of the National Register, the Park Service and Sequoia's managers want to make certain no legal loopholes are left unattended. Thus, a National Register Listing that was "assured" to be completed by the end of the year 2001 still is on hold.

Efforts to educate the public regarding the historic significance of Mineral King also are on hold due to lack of funding. Last summer, a road guide was produced by the Interpretive Committee and distributed at the Lookout Point entrance station, the Mineral King Ranger Station, the Silver City Store and the Point Cabin. As Sequoia National Park determined it would not be able to help fund the printing of the road guide, the Mineral King Preservation Society and a few individuals provided money for a limited number of copies. Distribution of the road guide this summer will be dependent on individual contributions.

Without funding, a Mineral King Valley walking guide, proposed for distribution this summer, also is on hold. Not on hold are opportunities for individuals to help with cabin and historic landscape maintenance, displays, tours, and interpretive programs. Those interested in helping in these activities can contact:

• Peter Dederich, District Naturalist Sequoia National Park, Three Rivers, CA 93271 Peter_Dederich@nps.gov
• Dan Abbe, Mineral King sub-district Ranger Sequoia National Park, Three Rivers, CA 93271 Dan_Abee@nps.gov

Of great importance to all preservation activities is the next phase of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks General Management Plan. The upcoming Environmental Impact Statement will have a heavy bearing on the survival of the Mineral King Community. That report is scheduled to be released soon, along with the Park's preferred alternatives.

It is time for members and friends of the community once again to let their voices be heard. To urge protection and maintenance of the Mineral King Road Cultural Landscape District through actual listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and to urge physical preservation of the community as one of the preferred alternatives in the General Management Plan, contact:

• Richard Martin, Superintendent Sequoia National Park, Three Rivers, CA 93271 (559) 565-3341 Richard_Martin@nps.gov
• Tom Burge, Cultural Resource Specialist Sequoia National Park, Three Rivers, CA 93271 Tom_Burge@nps.gov