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Wilsonia Times: The Official Newsletter of Wilsonia Village Inc.
Volume 21, Issue 11,  November 2021
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Thanksgiving Letter from the Editor
by Neal Mixter, Wilsonia Village Treasurer and Wilsonia Times Editor

Happy Thanksgiving!

After a very challenging and scary time in late September and October due to the KNP Complex Fire, it was not possible to visit with and say farewell to friends and neighbors during the fall season in Wilsonia. But our village survived, and for that I am extremely thankful.

Looking back on the past 18 months, I am also very grateful for:

The care, consideration and patience shown by Wilsonians as we all navigated through the pandemic.

The dedication and hard work of Board Members of both WVI and the WHDT, as we found ways to collaborate for the benefit of all.

A return in 2021 to some of our favorite activities, and a few new ones. We had a very productive cleanup weekend in June. This was followed by a fantastic 4th of July weekend, including a concert, potluck, parade and ice cream social, all of which had a huge turnout. A Taste of Wilsonia, our inaugural progressive dinner, was hosted by eight different mountain cafes, and was a great evening of food and friendship. We also had a fun evening of music at the Clubhouse by Jeff Hallock and Roger Perry.

Finally, I’m thankful for the positive reception to the all-digital format for the Wilsonia Times, which began in January. It was wonderful to be able to quickly and easily put out 11 regular editions, plus six special editions during the KNP Complex. The newsletter now reaches over 450 people by email, and over 1600 (with some overlap) via the Wilsonia Facebook page. I am so grateful for all of you who read these updates. A special thank you is in order for those who take the time to share this newsletter with their relatives and friends with limited internet access; I hope this is an opportunity for you to bond over discussion of Wilsonia.

The Wilsonia Times will now take a short break, and will return after the holidays. Expect another issue in January with info about the February Winter Planning Meeting and other off-season updates. Read on for more information about visiting Wilsonia this winter, and how you can keep an eye on what’s happening in the village.
A sculpture of a turkey made from scrap metal. The turkey has a wreath of moss and pine cones around its neck. The turkey is perched on a granite rock with trees and Wilsonia foliage in the background.
Turkey sculpture by Wilsonian Lyle Metcalf at his cabin on Willow Lane.
KNP Complex Recap

The Wilsonia summer season once again ended with evacuation orders and smoky, scary conditions in the village. It all started with a lightning strike during a storm in the Sierra Nevadas on September 9.

Three separate small fires ignited in Sequoia National Park, one of which was quickly extinguished. The other two, the Colony Fire near Crystal Cave and the Paradise Fire further south, were too remote for ground crews to directly fight the fire. Over the next week, the fires grew and merged, and were redesignated as the KNP Complex (KNP for the agency in charge: Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park). The fire was an immediate threat to Giant Forest, home to the General Sherman Tree. The focus of control and suppression was on that area and the community of Three Rivers. As the fire grew, the northern communities of Hartland and Wilsonia began to worry, especially after Wilsonia was placed under an evacuation warning on September 19. To the south, the communities along the Mineral King road also became threatened. 

The fire continued to grow moderately over the next few weeks. Extreme smoke caused by inversion layers helped to slow the growth of the fire, but also slowed or prevented the much needed aerial support. Wilsonians watched closely as the fire advanced toward the North Fork of the Kaweah River. The fire, if it crossed that landmark, would have a direct path up Redwood Canyon and become a serious threat to our area. As a precaution, Wilsonia was escalated to an evacuation order on October 1. 

Unfortunately, the fire did exactly what we feared. On Monday, October 4, the fire exploded up Redwood Canyon, burning a total of 9000 acres. It blasted past the proactive back-burns along the Generals Highway, and jumped the highway that evening. During the next two days, local crews worked valiantly to hold the fire. In the meantime, Office of Emergency Services structural teams from Sacramento were posted in Wilsonia, ready to protect our cabins from spot fires or from an advancing front. 

Thankfully, the weather changed, with temperatures dropping and relative humidity levels rising. This caused the fire to cool down. On October 8, rain came to the area, further slowing the fire’s progress and reducing the risk to Wilsonia. On the morning of the 9th, the evacuation order was lifted, and by October 11, the fire crews rolled up their hoses and moved out of Wilsonia.

The fire continues to smolder throughout the burned area, and will continue perhaps through the winter. As of this morning, the fire has burned 88,307 acres, and is 80% contained. Wilsonia was left with a dense sprinkling of ash and embers, as a sign of how close this fire came. We are reminded how fortunate we all are to have our historic Wilsonia to return to after a winter break—one we hope will bring lots of rejuvenating rain and snow.

Thank you to all the firefighter and support crews, including some of our local CalFire and USFS and NPS crews, and to Wilsonians Dutch, Scott, and Andrew, who contributed to the firefighting effort.
Visiting Wilsonia This Winter
 
When visiting Wilsonia during the winter, please park perpendicular to the road and back in. Leave your contact information on the dashboard, as it may be necessary for you to move your vehicle to make room for snowplows.

Chains may be required at any time in Wilsonia and the surrounding areas. You can check the current road conditions in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park online before your trip. 

As a reminder, there is no garbage service in Wilsonia during the months of November through May. Please come prepared to haul away any garbage. The recycle bins may not be serviced when there is snow on the ground. Please take recycling out of Wilsonia as well.

Wilsonian Gerry Cargile once again will be running his SnowCam from his cabin on Park Road. The camera updates every five minutes during daylight hours. 

In between issues of the Wilsonia Times, we will continue to update the Wilsonia Facebook page. If you’re in Wilsonia this winter, send photos to wilsoniatimes@gmail.com, and we might feature them on the Facebook page.
Update from the Wilsonia Historic District Trust

Dear Wilsonia Community,

You are probably aware of our effort to purchase and install a sound system in our Clubhouse through fundraising within our community. This effort has come to fruition. Thank you to those who contributed! The WHDT is continuing our fundraising efforts for items that will benefit all cabin owners. With our 501(c)(3) status, you receive tax-deductible savings when you donate to the WHDT, either for the purchase of a portable sound system or to help us meet our mission of maintaining historic status. To make a tax-deductible donation, you may donate electronically by visiting WHDT’s website www.wilsonia.org. or you can write a check payable to WHDT and send it to BJ Spitze, WHDT Treasurer, 1484 S. Frankwood Ave., Sanger, CA 93657.

Thank you in advance for considering a donation.
Drew S. Sorensen, President WHDT

Editor's note: If you’re looking to support Wilsonia with a tax-deductible end-of-year contribution, WHDT is a great way to go. Due to WVI’s 501(c)(7) status, contributions to us aren’t tax deductible. WHDT is a valued partner, and we work together to support the future of Wilsonia.
Pay dues online
Cabin Classified
Do you have a cabin for sale?

There are no current listings that we are aware of.
If you are considering selling your Wilsonia cabin, we can advertise for you here!
Demand for cabins is high!
You may even be able to negotiate a use back arrangement with your sale.
Cover art of Jana Botkin's book The Cabins of Wilsonia, featuring a pencil drawing of a cabin.
Ad for Paul Finck, General Contractor. Contact Paul at (559) 358-5797.
Jana is a freelance artist and compiled this wonderful book of pencil drawings of Wilsonia Village scenes. Preview and order the book here.
Paul is a Wilsonia resident, and has many work references in the village. He can be contacted at (559) 358-5797.
Want to contact a Board member? Click here for their contact information.

Bear problems? Contact the NPS Bear Tech at (559) 565-4490 or Park Dispatch at (559) 565-3341.
The Wilsonia Times is the official newsletter of Wilsonia Village Inc.
Editor: Neal Mixter
Visit wilsoniatimes.com to read past issues.
Questions about the Wilsonia Times? Email us at wilsoniatimes@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2021 Wilsonia Village Inc, All rights reserved.


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