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Presidential Preparation: Wuksachi Village and Lodge At Sequoia National Park Gets a Visit From George W. Bush.

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif., June 1 /PRNewswire/ --

Unlike most guests at Sequoia National Park's Wuksachi Village and Lodge, he didn't call ahead for a reservation.

When you're the President, you don't need one.

President George W. Bush paid a visit to Sequoia National Park to give a speech Wednesday, his final stop in a two-day visit to California. Bush toured the region to draw attention to his environmental policies.

But, behind the scenes, there was an enormous amount of preparation going into the President's arrival on Tuesday night.

"From the moment we officially heard that the President was staying with us, our staff shifted into overdrive," recalled Tom McFadden general manager of Delaware North Parks Services-operated Wuksachi Village and Lodge. "Between the presidential visit preparations and our capacity Memorial Day holiday crowd, numerous key staff members worked 20-hour shifts for three solid days."

Lodging rates at the Wuksachi begin at $125 per night, making a trip to Sequoia affordable for civilians as well as elected officials. The Wuksachi Village and Lodge, constructed in 1999, has 102 guest rooms among its three buildings. Located in the Giant Forest area on the western slope of the Central Sierra, the Wuksachi is also home to a 90-seat full-service restaurant and 1,320 square feet of conference and meeting space.

Bush's room will be designated as a "Presidential Suite," celebrating his stay at Sequoia National Park and commemorating his visit as the first-ever president to tour the park while in office.

In addition to the President's room, 71 more rooms were needed for White House staff and Secret Service. The Wuksachi's Conference Center was also converted into a White House Communications Center with the addition of 25 phone lines, numerous satellite dishes, antennae and TV monitors.

According to McFadden, "The President seemed very gracious and down-to-earth in person, taking the time to greet and shake hands with everyone present. He remarked that we (the staff) were very fortunate to live and work in such a beautiful place."

Once settled at the Lodge, the President did what most guests do - he ordered room service. He had two BBQ pork sandwiches delivered to his room, leaving only a clean plate. The next morning, he ate in his room again, this time a breakfast of raisin bran, skim milk and coffee.

He departed Wuksachi at 8 a.m. Wednesday, before heading to the Giant Forest to deliver his speech on national park maintenance; outlining his budget request for a $4.9-billion, five-year program to repair trails and roads, improve visitor centers, and repair sewage and water treatment facilities in national parks.

While in Sequoia, Bush enjoyed two of the most popular visitor attractions, including a hike to the top of Moro Rock, (a steep 1/4 mile, 300 foot ascent) and a stop to admire the General Sherman Tree, known as the largest living tree on Earth.

It's no surprise Bush felt a connection to the park and its giant trees, as both share similar election experiences. While the President won his contest, the Giant Sequoia came in a few votes short, conceding to the Oak tree in last month's Arbor Day election for America's National Tree.

Delaware North Parks Services is one of the fastest growing providers of recreational visitors services in the United States. The company's expertise includes the operation of a broad range of hotels and restaurants, retail stores, tours, educational programs and leisure activities. The company serves as guardians of such national treasures as Yosemite and Grand Canyon national parks, Kennedy Space Center, Niagara Falls, Roaring River, Jones Beach, Robert Moses, Captree and Deer Creek state parks and the Asilomar Conference Grounds and Jetty Maritime Park.

Toll-free room reservations for the Wuksachi can be made by calling 888-252-5757. For online information on the Wuksachi Lodge and Sequoia National Park, visit the website at http://www.VisitSequoia.com.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 1, 2001
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