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Several passes cross the crest into the park, including Bishop Pass, Taboose Pass, Sawmill Pass, and Kearsarge Pass.All of these passes are above 11,000 feet (3,400 m) in elevation.Ice Age glaciations did not extend all the way to the confluence of the Middle and South Forks; consequently, the canyons downstream of Cedar Grove and Tehipite are typical V-shaped river gorges, in contrast to the U-shaped valleys upstream.The glacial valleys are characterized by flat floors and exposed granite cliffs and domes many thousands of feet high, similar in form to the more famous Yosemite Valley to the north, and in fact the term "yosemite" was used in the 19th century by John Muir to describe these valleys before they were widely known by their own names.Its namesake, Kings Canyon, is a rugged glacier-carved valley more than a mile (1,600 m) deep; the park also includes multiple 14,000-foot (4,300 m) peaks, high mountain meadows, swift-flowing rivers, and some of the world's largest stands of giant sequoia trees.Kings Canyon is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park, and the two are jointly administered by the National Park Service as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.Kings Canyon National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, in Fresno and Tulare Counties, California in the United States.Originally established in 1890 as General Grant National Park, it was greatly expanded and renamed to Kings Canyon National Park on March 4, 1940.
The Sierran crest forms the eastern boundary of the park, from Mount Goethe in the north, down to Junction Peak, at the boundary with Sequoia National Park.Cedar Grove, located at the bottom of the Kings Canyon, is the only part of the park's vast eastern portion accessible by road (via Highway 180).Although most of the park is forested, much of the eastern section consists of alpine regions above the tree line.Environmental groups, park visitors and many local politicians wanted to see the area preserved; however, development interests wanted to build hydroelectric dams in the canyon. Roosevelt expanded the park in 1940, the fight continued until 1965, when the Cedar Grove and Tehipite Valley dam sites were finally annexed into the park.
As visitation rose post-World War II, further debate took place over whether the park should be developed as a tourist resort, or retained as a more natural environment restricted to simpler recreation such as hiking and camping.
There are several prominent subranges of the Sierra within and around the park.