Sequoia, CA


Site Leaders

Becca Danese

Caroline McGahren

Type of Service


Site Partner(s)

National Park Service



Departure Date


Return Date






Site Leader Description #1

Becca is a third-year from Los Angeles, California majoring in Environmental Science and German Studies. She has not been on an ASB trip before, but is really excited to go! She is involved with several other groups on Grounds, such as Club Running, Ceramics Club (hopefully), environmental science research, and she works at UVA’s Office of Sustainability. Becca loves running, hiking, watersports, and being outdoors! She also is passionate about wildlife conservation and loves dogs. She is really excited to go to Sequoia and explore the area with a great group of people.

Site Leader Description #2

Caroline is a third year from Crozet, Virginia majoring in Political and Social Thought, and potentially minoring in Spanish. She traveled to Arches National Park near Moab, Utah with ASB her first year and loved it!! In addition to hanging out with the coolest people in ASB, you can catch her around Grounds at Club Running practices, the Women’s Center, or barista-ing at Grit Coffee. You can also find her trying to work up the courage for Salsa Club, or playing spikeball where she’s proudly earned the nickname “The Liability”. She absolutely can’t wait to adventure with new friends and see lots of very large trees, mountains, and maybe even a marmot or banana slug.


Trip Logistics

We intend to drive up to D.C. and spend the night at someone’s house or at an AIRBNB on Friday (March 5th). We would fly from D.C. (Dulles or Reagan) to LAX early on Saturday (March 6th), rent two cars, and drive up to Sequoia (~5 hour drive), stopping for a big grocery shop along the way. We will spend the week volunteering and exploring Sequoia/Kings Canyon until Friday (March 11th), when we will drive back down to LA and spend the night at Becca’s house. We will then fly back to D.C early Saturday (March 12th) morning and drive back to Charlottesville that night. This gives us Sunday to recuperate before classes begin again!

Participant Requirements

No specific requirements, though we would hope that participants are up for long days with lots of physical activity and will keep an open mind and positive attitude! While we will spend the vast majority of our time outside, no previous camping or outdoor adventure experience is required; just an openness to new experiences and having tons of fun!

Service Activities

Groups have historically done a wide variety of service work. Groups have worked on all of the following activities: oak monitoring, wildlife monitoring, assisting in the native plant garden and nursery, and assisting the maintenance team. We will know what type of service we will be doing closer to the trip, but it will likely be similar, and take place outdoors.

Recreational Activities

Though we will be doing a decent amount of service work, we will have plenty of time to explore Sequoia/Kings Canyon! After all, we will be in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and want to see every inch of the Sierra Nevada mountains we can! From stalactites and stalagmites in Crystal Cave, to giant granite domes and glacier carved valleys, the tallest mountain in the U.S. (Mt. Whitney), abandoned mines, and some of the most gigantic old-growth trees in the world, there’s tons to do and see while we will be here.
We plan to do lots of hiking (specific hikes TBD, whatever the group is most interested in), rock climbing, stargazing, and are looking into kayaking on Hume Lake, spelunking/caving in Crystal Cave, and visiting sites such as the General Sherman tree (BIGGEST TREE IN THE WORLD!!). If possible, we will try to contact the tribal liaison for the area to learn more about the park’s history and Native American history/life in that area.

Community/Area Background

Sequoia is the second-oldest national park in the U.S., as it was established by president Harrison in 1890. It was the first national park created to protect living organisms: the spectacular and utterly ginormous Sequoia trees! Additionally, the local wildlife species that inhabit the park are black bears, mule deer, bobcats, foxes, ground squirrels, rattlesnakes, marmots, and mountain lions. California grizzlies, though present on the state flag, are no longer present in the state, with the last grizzly having been killed in Sequoia in 1922. The terrain of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks includes the giant Sequoia trees, mountains, canyons carved by ancient rivers and glaciers, and plenty of rivers and lakes. But the fun doesn’t stop there; miles of underground caverns make their way throughout the parks!
John Muir and other conservationists took the lead in campaigning for the protection of the magnificent Sequoia trees, but not before ~⅓ were logged. General Grant Grove was the first bit of land to be protected, and the park has been expanded ever since. The first road to Sequoia was completed in 1903, under the supervision of the only African American commissioned officer in the U.S. Army at the time, Captain Charles Young. In 1940, President Roosevelt and Congress agreed to add Kings Canyon as an addition to the park, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon are now administered together. This was done to protect the area from parties interested in building dams for hydroelectric power and water supply. A photography campaign by Ansel Adams (we highly suggest looking these up) to generate public interest in preservation, which was clearly successful. Kings Canyon was named for the Kings River which flows through it, and the full name of the river is The River of the Holy Kings, named for the date (January 6th) on which explorer George Stewart stumbled across the river. This is why Kings Canyon/River is spelled with no apostrophe.
There are 26 federal or state recognized Native American tribes of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Sequoia and Kings Canyon are the homeland of the Mono (Monache), Yokut, Tübatulabal, Paiute, and Western Shoshone people. We would like to acknowledge the legacy of colonialism present in our National Parks, and will discuss the history and legacy of Sequoia and Kings Canyon’s Native American tribes in our trip’s daily reflections. We ask that our participants are respectful of the fact that we will be inhabiting a space that is sacred to many people.