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“…wintriest winter even in the experience of Judge Fry…” An appreciation of NPS Superintendent Judge Walter Fry

In a letter to Stephen Mather, John Roberts White mentions Judge Fry, his predecessor, mentor, and moving force behind the development of Sequoia National Park.  A NPS webpage is devoted to Judge Fry’s career and pivotal role in Sequoia’s growth…


“In 1890, a petition was circulating calling for a new national park to protect the sequoias. The third signature was Walter Fry's. In September of that year the park was established by Congress…

In July 1905, Fry became a civilian park ranger, one of a handful appointed to assist the cavalry troops then in charge of the parks.   When the Army gave up caretaking the parks in 1914, the choice for civilian superintendent was a clear one. Fry became superintendent of Sequoia and General Grant National Parks, a position he would hold for the next six years…

 In 1922 Fry became involved with what may have been his most enduring contribution, the first Nature Guide Service at Sequoia National Park.  The Nature Guide Service was the foundation of the ranger programs and talks that millions of visitors have participated in at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks over the decades…”

Stephen Mather (2nd from right) at the celebration for the dedication of the Generals Highway, Sequoia National Park 1925.  Behind Stephen, John White, Superintendent.  To Stephen’s left, his daughter, Bertha Floy Mather.

Judge Walter Fry (r) at the dedication of    the Mather Plaque at Sequoia NP

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