With lots of local kids in the south Valley having no transportation to visit Sequoia National Park, the Sequoia Shuttle is making it possible, through Sunday, September 27, for 1,200 youth 18 and younger to see and explore the nearby national park free of charge. All kids must be accompanied by a chaperone.
The park experience for these kids is being made possible by a Kids to Trees grant program. The Sequoia Shuttle, a partnership between the city of Visalia and Sequoia National Park, was also established by a grant and began operating in 2007.
Each year since 2007, according to city of Visalia officials who operate the shuttle, ridership has increased. The Sequoia Shuttle is a convenient way to get to Sequoia attractions throughout the summer.
With shuttles departing from various locations throughout Visalia and Exeter, the wonders of the park are now available to many kids who otherwise would be unable to go.
“We are pleased that Sequoia Shuttle is able to offer transportation, which is often a barrier for urban youth to access their public lands” says Woody Smeck superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
The Kids to Trees Grant was inspired by The Healthy Parks Healthy People a NPS initiative designed to connect people with the parks using them as a place to have fun, learn something, and get healthy.
This grant offers many their first opportunity to visit the park and discover the beauty of their own backyard. These trips are designed to be educational, but most of all fun for kids.
Upon arriving at the park, Kids to Trees grant children are welcomed with an orientation by an interpretative ranger. The greeting focuses on park stewardship, information on conservation, and scientific data on climate change and air pollution. Park personnel stress to these kids how these issues affect our parks.
After orientation, kids are free to explore the park’s extensive trail system. The General Sherman Tree — the largest living tree in the world, the Giant Forest Museum, and Moro Rock are all important places to visit.
“As we approach the centennial anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service , one focus will be to invite young people to experience their parks. It’s an opportunity to get kids outdoors, away from their devices, and engaged in healthy activities,” said Smeck.
Sequoia Shuttle and the Kids to Trees grant will take these kids to some special places.
For information on how to register for a grant-funded trip email Jessica at Jessica@archerandhound.com or call Sequoia Shuttle. Shuttles run seven days and multiple times each day. Round trip tickets to as far as Wuksachi Lodge are normally $15. Included is the park entry fee and unlimited shuttle service inside the park.
Each shuttle is wheelchair accessible and seats up to 16 passengers. Reservations are required and can be purchased online at www.sequoiashuttle.com or by calling (877) 287- 4453.