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Pinnacles National Park

Our National Parks: 9 California Wonders Every Local Must See

The nation’s newest national park—christened last year—is an inspiring testimony to the awesome power of plate tectonics combined with erosion: sheer rock spires rising out of the scrubby Gabilan Mountains. Its beauty was apparent to Schuyler Hain (1861-1930), a homesteader from Michigan, who led valley and cave tours, and acted as caretaker, until Pinnacles was deemed a national monument more than a century ago. Read more...

Sequoia National Park

Our National Parks: 9 California Wonders Every Local Must See

Certain that ancient trees had a highter purpose than becoming fence posts and shingles, George W. Stewart, the 21-year-old city editor of the Visalia Delta, penned an 1878 editorial calling for a state ban on cutting giant sequoias. For the next dozen years, the newspaperman battled mining, livestock, and timber interests, and spurred state and federal officials to secure the park’s first 76 square miles. Read more...

Kings Canyon National Park

Our National Parks: 9 California Wonders Every Local Must See

Strong-willed, heartily disliked, and highly effective Interior Secretary Harold Ickes (1874-1952) took an interest in wilderness preservation that went beyond most: parks without roads. Wheeling and dealing—which inluded selling FDR on the idea with commissioned Ansel Adams photographs—Ickes got his wish in Kings Canyon. Read more...

Yosemite National Park

Our National Parks: 9 California Wonders Every Local Must See

Yosemite forever changed Muir. Soaring granite monoliths, icy streams that tumble like feathers over cliffs, stately groves of sequoias, and wildlife around every bend. Muir championed Yosemite not just for its natural beauty, but its ecological significance, too—a template for dozens of national parks that followed. Read more...

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Our National Parks: 9 California Wonders Every Local Must See

A place of beauty, yet volatile and violent. Among the clear lakes, grazing mule deer, and fields of wildflowers sleep all four types of volcanoes—cinder cones; shields, which spew lava in all directions; composite, which emit lava, ash, cinders, and blocks; and plug domes, whose lava piles up inside the crater. More than 20 years before Lassen Peak last blew its plug, Muir wrote: “Miles of its flanks are reeking and bubbling with hot springs, many of them so boisterous and sulphurous they seem ever ready to become spouting geysers ...” Read more...

Redwood National & State Parks

Our National Parks: 9 California Wonders Every Local Must See

Ironically, the construction of the Redwoods Highway (now U.S. 101) for the logging and tourism industries led to the creation of three state parks in the 1920s and ’30s, to save the world’s tallest trees. The Save the Redwoods League, the Sierra Club, and the National Geographic Society long lobbied for a national park, but a 1960 Sunset magazine cover story, “The Redwood Country” by Martin Litton, proved to be the turning point. Read more...
READ NOW: Serial Killer Seduction

Our "Center of the Universe" story is being read all over the world right now. Click here for the story.

 

Who Did Randy Kraft Seduce?

Current photos of author Jay Roberts.

 

A Fact-Checker's Journey to a 1980 Afternoon

Our intrepid intern tracks down the details in Roberts' story.

 

Why Isn't Randy Kraft Dead?

Our original piece on one of California's deadliest and most depraved serial killers. 

 

Editor's Letter, October 2013

Our editor considers "Center of the Universe" to be compelling—and incredibly frightening. Click above to find out why.