2023 March 24, Public Meeting on Winter Storm Damage & Recovery

A YouTube.com video (**Updated** 2023 March 24 Public Meeting on Winter Storm Damage and Recovery — Open Captioned) in which John Liu gave a report on the road conditions of CA-198, CA-245, & CA-180.

The information regarding CA-180 from the Hume lake cutoff to Cedar Grove, or on the map shown at the public meeting, to Boyden Cavern area.

I have zoomed in and labeled some of the damaged area locations.

John Liu of Caltrans said there was “Extensive Damage.”
[15:36] “180 is in better shape except in the park. There’s a lot of damage out towards Cedar Grove
[17:04]”Now the portion within the park: at this time we normally have our winter closure. We would expect to open it up within a few weeks from now. But there is much more extensive damage from approximately Hume Lake over to Cedar Grove. We don’t have any kind of timeframe when that may be opened, maybe sometime later in the summer, but that’s definitely going to be a long term closure from all that damage. and that concludes my report.

The park director gave a wonderfully detailed explanation of the damage to the Generals Highway and the Sequoia portion of the parks. Starts at 18:00 minutes into the video and goes for almost 30 minutes.

When discussing CA-180 kept saying that John had gone over it or that it was similar to the Generals Highway.
[44:24] “And then that takes us to Cedar Grove. You know, as John was talking about, from CalTrans, we have not been able to get in there on the ground to Cedar Grove.¬†

These are the challenges that Caltrans, in the section from Grant Grove in the lower left to Cedar Grove on the right side of the screen, going through the national forest lands. and they have multiple spots that, as John walked through, that is a challenge for them.
There is some of them very similar to what we have on the Generals Highway. And so he reported out on that. Okay. So the next thing that I’m going to talk about and I guess I should probably keep questions to the end because of the microphones… Okay. All Right. I need Sintia to keep me on track here so… Oh, but the good news, I started to say, for Cedar Grove: the challenges appear to be on the road to Cedar Grove dropping down into the Kings Canyon. But once you get to Cedar Grove, from the air — again, we haven’t been able to get in there on the ground — we’re not seeing any signs of any real significant damage. So Chief Hall is hopeful to be able to get in there, get the utilities going. And when CalTrans is able to get us access in there, then they will be able to… will be able to hopefully open Cedar Grove fairly quickly.” [46:23]

After that we go into a discussion of the public reopening estimates of portions of the park.
[48:36] “You heard John talk about Cedar Grove and we were making a projection that might be based on some, you know maybe best case scenario. But I think as we heard John report out, as far as the work that needs to take place in Kings Canyon, I don’t think that I have an estimate for Cedar Grove that would be worthwhile. Certainly the earliest, I think, would be Memorial Day weekend. Maybe that’ll happen. As John Reported out, though, it could be well after that into the summer months. And we’ll just have to , We’ll just have to see what happens there. But if we do think that — and Caltrans has explained to us that we may have some administrative access before there’s public access — and if that’s the case, we’ll be able to get Cedar Grove ready to open for when we’re able to… When we get the green light from CalTrans, and that covers Cedar Grove.“[49:50]

Public questions starts at [65:24], and predominantly people are asking about Relief funds, access to Giant Forest and the areas around there.

The NPS website states:
Cedar Grove
No access to wilderness, camping, river, waterfalls, or trails.
Current Status: Closed for the winter season
Estimated Reopening: Not currently available, as it is dependent upon the completion of major road
repairs outside the park on Highway 180 between Grant Grove and Cedar Grove

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