The region around Forester Pass, north of Mt. Whitney, is among the most stupendous in the Sierra Nevada. This is the Kings-Kern Divide country. To the north, the snowfields and remnant glaciers feed the vast stream system that becomes the Kings River, ultimately flowing through Kings Canyon and the national park that bears its name. On the other side of the divide, the snowmelt gathers to form the Kern. Flanked by the Great Western Divide, the Kern cuts an incredible trench from the Whitney area straight south through Sequoia National Park and the Golden Trout Wilderness.
Further north, the Merced River rises amid the very highest peaks of Yosemite National Park, ultimately coursing through Yosemite Valley and out into the San Joaquin Valley through magnificent gorges and its own impressive canyon.
Today, all three rivers are formally part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system, culminating an impressive drive in Congress over the past three years. The Kern River bill became law upon President Reagan's signature last Tuesday. He signed the Kings and Merced bills barely a month ago. For all the divisiveness in Washington the past year, both Republicans and Democrats, Congress and the Executive branch came together on the wild rivers legislation.