Sierra Vista Scenic Byway - Season’s Final First Friday Fresno Flats Lecture

Arch Rock, a feature along the Byway.
Arch Rock, a feature along the Byway. Brenda Negley

The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway winds its way through the Sierra National Forest for almost 83 miles. Brenda Negley will discuss the route during her First Friday Fresno Flats lecture at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2 at the Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park in Oakhurst.

Negley, a local historian, is also the author of “Nelder Grove of Giant Sequoias” and is a board member of Fresno Flats Historical Park and Museum.

“A large selection of the lecture will be based on the book “Exploring the Sierra Vista National Scenic Byway” written by Roger and Loris Mitchell,” Negley said. Both authors plan to be in attendance the night of the lecture.

Roger, a board member at Fresno Flats, has been a volunteer at the park for 20 years and Loris has volunteered there for 15 years. Their book may be purchased the night of the lecture for $14.95 or from the website trackandtrailpublications.com. The 160-page book also describes a dozen side trips to such places as the exact center of California, an airplane crash site and Nelder Grove of giant sequoia trees.

The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway was established July 14, 1989. The route features dirt and paved surfaces and is usually open from June through October depending on weather and road conditions.

The route begins two miles north of North Fork and ends at Highway, 41 just north of Oakhurst. A window of five hours is suggested for completion of this distorted horseshoe-shaped loop.

“Historical attractions on the Byway route and places of interest will be discussed,” Negley said. Redinger Overlook, Ross Cabin, Mile High Vista, Mammoth Pool, Globe Rock, Eagle Beak Peak, Jackass Meadow, Jones Store, Fresno Dome and Nelder Grove are included in the list of points of interest Negley will describe.

Many photo albums feature family members posing Atlas-like as they appear to be supporting Globe Rock found along the route. Even President Theodore Roosevelt was once photographed at Globe Rock.

“This route meanders for about 100 miles depending on the route the visitor decides to take,” Negley explained. “There are several side trips on the way and breathtaking views of panoramic vistas, Sierra Nevada granite peaks, unique rock formations, lush meadows and plant and animal life.”

Those in attendance wanting to extend their experience may accompany Negley to Globe Rock and Jones Store the day after the lecture on Saturday, Aug. 3 for a short tour of a portion of the byway. Sign-ups will be done the night of the lecture.

The lure of “cooler temperatures, learning more about Globe Rock’s geology and myths, along with a Jones Store stop will make the day extra delightful,” Negley said.

“This (Jones Store) is a real old-time country store that has a 100-year-old history of serving the cattle ranchers in the Sierra,” the store website says. “Cattle are still driven up here in the spring to feed on the grass in the meadow from about the end of June until late September.

“They have basic supplies and offer sandwiches, homemade pies and hamburgers, beer and other sundry items you might need up there,” the website continues. They sell gasoline if you run out on your way out of the mountains. There is no electricity (refrigeration is provided by propane), no phone or cell service.”

Although this is the last lecture of this season, lectures will resume in January 2020.

The evening of the lecture, doors open at 5:30 p.m.

“The lectures have generated a large following resulting in seating filling up by 6 p.m.,” Negley said.

Those who arrive early may use provided “seat saver” signs to save their desired seat(s) while they visit one of the historic buildings on the grounds. A docent will share the history of buildings found in the historical park. The museum on the grounds will be open to the public at 5:30 also. Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park recreates 19th-century life in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

The Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park is located at 49777 School Road in Oakhurst. The lectures are free, but donations to the Sierra Historical Sites Association (SHSA) will be accepted. SHSA is a 501(c)(3) organization.