In 1890, Sequoia National Park was the second national park to be established by the
federal government. Kings Canyon National Park was founded in 1940 and, though the
parks are separate, they have been administered jointly for most of their history.
The parks were some of the first national parks to face issues associated with the
collective effects of development and visitation on the park ecosystems. The central
records of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks were created by various
offices and divisions fulfilling the parks' mission and ensuring accountability to
the public and Congress. Originally, the organization of the parks consisted of
ranger, maintenance, and administrative divisions. In the early decades of the park,
the ranger division provided interpretation and natural resource management for the
park services. As the park grew, there was increased specialization and
reorganization of divisions to meet the growing needs and challenges of the park,
such as safety, conservation, and development of park programs and infrastructure.
Extensive fiscal records attest to the increasing complexity of administration. In
1959, the public programming functions of the ranger division were split off into
the new division of interpretation. This allowed park naturalists to focus on
visitor interactions and education and allowed rangers to focus on such concerns as
law enforcement and resource management. The increasing professionalization of the
ranger division lead to further programs and initiatives dedicated to improving park
safety practices for visitors and employees, a critical issue in the mid-twentieth
century. Records in wildlife and natural resource management reflect changing
attitudes and growing concerns over the preservation of the parks' flora and fauna.
Major programs included: Mission 66, a program enacted by the National Park Service
(NPS) in honor of their fiftieth anniversary, which included the construction of the
Lodgepole Visitor Center and campground; the implementation of prescribed burn
programs as a method of ecosystem restoration and fire control; campaigns for the
cleanup and restoration of public areas; and a partnership with the University of
California for a major archeological survey of the park. Between 1953 and 2009, the
NPS used the NPS-19 Records Disposition Schedule system of file codes to organize
and manage records. This method of organization is an alphanumeric system, which
consists of primary key letters (A to Y) representing major functional categories
and secondary numbers representing the type of records being filed. Records are
organized by NPS-19 file code and then by dates within each file code. Records
created prior to 1953 were later filed according to the NPS-19 codes by the division
and remained part of the records until they were closed and transferred to the
Many collections are former federal government records and are in the public domain.
Other collections are from private sources; copyright has been transferred to the
NPS on most. Some collections have publication restrictions. Staff will assist
researchers in determining copyright status of selected materials. Researchers are
required to properly credit all materials used. The researcher assumes
responsibility for acquiring copyright permissions when needed.