In 1972, community members gathered to protect and preserve the valley’s history and landscape. Now, Mineral King Preservation Society board members recollect the experiences that motivate them to further the original mission.
And so it began...
TO THE FRIENDS OF MINERAL KING (EXCERPTS FROM POSITION PAPER, AUGUST 30, 1972):
By this time most conscious people realize the incredibly delicate inter-relationships of the earth and its inhabitants. Like the human body, any abuse in any one part affects the whole system. Our water and air, for example, are already poisoned in many areas, in some cases perhaps irrevocably.
In our opinion, the ordinary citizens of this country (or any others) are profoundly wrong to surrender the control of their environment and destiny to the professionals, the experts, or the commercial interests . . . We, the real owners of the public land, parks and forests, should not hesitate to help formulate general plans that affect the air, water and land by which we live.
Mineral King is an example of a delicately balanced environment where we still have the opportunity to make the right decisions. It is one of the gems of Tulare County, and the understanding and responsibility for its use should reside primarily with the local citizens and officials in order to protect and preserve it for both the present and future inhabitants of this area and for the guests from elsewhere who seek out its clean, quiet beauty.
Mineral King cabins have been built in harmony with the environment over the years, in many cases from local timber and stone; they constitute a living historical monument dating back to the early mining days. They should be treated as such, with adequate assurance for their preservation and maintenance . . .
Mineral King Planning Committee
William A. Reynolds, Chairman, David A. Green, Nadean Bissiri, Ron Kennedy
And so it continues...
PORTRAITS OF MKPS BOARD MEMBERS COMMITTED TO PROTECT AND PRESERVE THE HISTORY AND LANDSCAPE OF THE MINERAL KING VALLEY
Stuart Hendricks, MKPS President
I was first introduced to Mineral King in the summer of 1976. I have been associated with the Parks Cabin, West MK #6 since then. I moved to Visalia in 1984 and lived around the corner from Jock and Ora Kay Peterson, I knew the Petersons through Jim Parks. It was sometime in the late 1980’s that Ora Kay called and asked for help stuffing envelopes for the MKPS newsletter; it wasn’t long after that I was on the MKPS board. I have remained on the board because of my desire to preserve Mineral King for all of our children and our children’s children. My children have been fortunate to have had the experience of staying in Mineral King for two to three weeks straight during the summers as they were growing up and I am sure it has played a part in shaping who they are today. When my son Pat was six years old, he was taken on his first hike to Eagle Lake. He was told that if he complained, it would be a while before he would get to go on his next hike. He didn’t complain, but he did say, “I would complain but I want to do this again.” I would say that is a good way to sum up Mineral King; whatever happens, it is worth being there, and I want to go there again! That is why preservation of Mineral King is so important.
Jim Ingram, Vice President
Jim’s Mineral King heritage comes from several interconnected families, chiefly the early Hart family. He has been an integral part of both MKPS and the District Association for many years, serving on both boards, at times as President. He is a key component of cooperative programs with the Park and Silver City and a strong contributor to MKPS educational activities.
Keith Cosart, Treasurer
I am part of the third generation to have the privilege of being a member of the Mineral King Community. My grandfather W.F. Cosart built the family cabin in 1933 that my children, the fourth generation, and my grandchildren, the fifth generation, now enjoy. This heritage seems to be the norm with most of the cabin families as most have the similar stories of their family history in Mineral King. The Mineral King Preservation society was formed to preserve the historic integrity of the area that we all love. The historic things of Mineral King are not just the Cabins, mines and artifacts but include the stories, picpictures and mostly the people of the past and present. As the Treasurer of The Mineral King Preservation Society I would like to thank all of you whom continue to support our efforts to protect and preserve Mineral King’s history and its future.
Cathy Lean, Secretary
I am the fourth generation of my family to spend time in Mineral King. My grandparents, Ray and Gem Buckman, owned the resort and pack station for many years. I lived in Mineral King every summer until I was fifteen. After the resort was sold my family had a cabin until 1972. My husband, Tom, and I camped at Cold Springs with our kids for a few summers. The past thirty-five years we have shared cabins of our generous friends in East Mineral King. Mineral King is definitely "in my blood" and in my heart. I am so pleased to be on the MKPS board and be a part of the effort to preserve the history of this very special place
Michael Botkin, Board Member
Growing up with a family cabin in Mineral King, summers were the high point of Michael's childhood. Time in Mineral King influenced his National Park Service career choice, which included 15 summers in Mineral King. In the 1980s, he spent three winters in Mineral King. Recently retired from the NPS, he now spends summers at his cabin. He says it is like living in history. During cabin season, you can find Michael helping fellow cabin folks with various projects, sharing his knowledge of the area with visitors, hanging out with his artist wife Jana, perfecting his wood pile, tinkering around the cabin or out on a trail. If the front door is closed, he is probably napping. During non-cabin season, Michael enjoys life in Three Rivers with Jana and an ever-changing tribe of cats. He skis, bike-rides, putters around the yard, takes his Trackster to Mineral King, does errands for his wife, and BBQs many wonderful dinners.
Louise Jackson, Board Member
Louise’s great grandfather is responsible for her connection to Mineral King. When a group of Visalia’s citizens formed the Mineral King Toll Road in 1879, John W. Crowley obtained the franchise to build the road and acted as its first superintendent. This led to sending his son Arthur to the construction sites as time-keeper; which led to Arthur developing the original Mineral King Resort in the 1890s; which led to him building a cabin in the valley for his family; which Louise Jackson considers her emotional home. Louise moved to Three Rivers thirteen years ago in part to dedicate as much of her energies as possible to the preservation, education and conservation of Mineral King’s amazing history.
William Martin, Board Member
William is a multi-term office holder and past president of both the MKDA and the MKPS, of which he is a founding member. He was responsible for bringing together the Sierra Club and cabin owners as partners in the lawsuit to prevent commercial development in Mineral King. He also helped write the bill that placed Mineral King into Sequoia National Park. His first visit to Mineral King was as a small infant in 1947 and he has never missed at least one visit per year since then (this summer being his 67th)! Interestingly, he owns the 1876 historic Palace Hotel in downtown Visalia, built one year after the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Gold and silver mining investors from San Francisco built and stayed at the hotel on their way to Mineral King.
Stoney Savage, Board Member
Stoney has been an integral part of the Mineral King community all of his life. He has also been an important member of both the MKDA and MKPS governing bodies throughout the years.
Marilyn Weldon, Board Member
Marilyn is the daughter of Ora Kay Peterson, the original founder and force behind the Mineral King Preservation Society. On retiring as a captain from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department two years ago, Marilyn joined the Preservation Society board to help carry on her mother’s work. Her memories of Mineral King start with her parents’ many summer trips to the Jeff Davis cabin in East Mineral King when she was four or five years old. After that cabin blew up in the 1960s, Jeff and the Petersons used the J. Earl Pogue Cabin owned by Doris and Micki Lauben, and were able to buy it in 1975. Marilyn has always had a love of horses. Her first pack trip was with Bill De Carteret to Hockett Meadows when she was six years old. As an adult she has made them a part of her Mineral King experience each summer. She married Bert Weldon, who is also a horseman, and they live on a ranch in the foothills of Tollhouse out of Fresno. In recent years they have helped train Park rangers in backcountry riding safety and Park border patrol. It was a volunteer job they hope to do more of.
Jock Peterson, Board Member
Not long after their marriage, Jock and Ora Kay Peterson took a drive up the dusty Mineral King road to see the fabled valley for themselves. They parked in Faculty Flat and walked up to the valley. That walk created an instant love affair for Ora Kay. It took a little longer for Jock, but increasingly Ora Kay’s enthusiasm made him love it, too. Jock has been an integral part of the MKPS since it was formed in 1986. “It was Ora Kay’s baby,” he likes to say. “I was there just to support her.” But his support was crucial, and in 2002, he became a member of the Board of Directors, a position he still holds. At the young age of 92, Jock expresses how much Mineral King has meant to him. “ It was the cabins, the setting, and the people who are the cohesiveness of it all,” he says. “Living in Mineral King, you have the wonderful sense of feeling you are needed. People who don’t know the history don’t look at the heartaches and dreams and the results those dreams had. Knowing the history was like stepping out the door and feeling a fresh breeze. It was sustaining. Mineral King is not a spot; it is an ethereal being. Something in your heart, in the wind, in the air, to see, to enjoy, to preserve.”