Birthing a Landmark

The Creation of Kings Canyon National Park

Ansel Adams is considered one of America’s most influential conservationists. But for all that Ansel’s photographs were instrumental in convincing Americans to protect its natural treasures, he did not simply allow his photographs to do all the talking. Indeed, Adams routinely lobbied personally for conservation efforts. And perhaps nowhere was he more successful than in the creation of Kings Canyon National Park.

Kings Canyon—formed by glaciers in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains—sits immediately to the north of world-famous Sequoia National Park, founded in the 1890s to protect the giant redwoods from logging interests. But in spite of its stunning natural beauty and its proximity to Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon itself remained unprotected into the 1930s. And by 1936, its future as a natural wonder was in jeopardy.