PORTERVILLE, CA, February 8, 2019 – Recent winter storms across the Sierra Nevada released heavy snow across the Sequoia National Forest, resulting in over 120 visitors and Resort staff snowbound at the Montecito Lake Resort. The Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks entered Unified Command Wednesday, deploying heavy equipment and crews to clear 8 miles of snow and more than 20 fallen trees on Generals Highway hampering access to the resort.
According to Forest Service officials, crews traveled by snowmobile to the lodge Wednesday morning, ensuring the health and safety of the snow-trapped visitors. General supplies requested by the guests were delivered Thursday morning by Forest Service, National Park Service, and Resort staff to ease their extended stay.
“Forest and Park Service crews cleared the final path to the by Lodge 6 p.m. and Park Service personnel began escorting the stranded visitors down the mountain at approximately 6:30 p.m. The first convoy included 25 vehicles and 92 guests,” Forest Service Incident Command Joe Gonzales reported.
Tulare County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) recommends Forest visitors stay out of the area until it is cleared and safe for people to return. More snow is expected this weekend that could add to hazardous driving conditions. As a reminder, while traveling in the mountains, always be prepared for extreme weather conditions. “We appreciate TCSO’s valuable recommendations, the offers of snow removal equipment and assistance responding to family member’s calls of concern,” Gonzales added.