Sequoia Task Force
The fight to protect the giant sequoias of California’s Sierra Nevada
range began in the late 1800s, when Sierra Club founder John Muir sought and
won the establishment of Sequoia National Park. Over one hundred years later,
in 2000, President Clinton established the Giant Sequoia National Monument
to protect nearly half the giant sequoias left in existence. Yet ten years
later these groves of towering trees are still threatened.
The latest (October, 2010) management plan proposal from the Forest Service still makes logging the heart of its management, rather than protecting the ecosystem as the Monument Proclamation intended. See What You Can Do to lend your voice to protect the Sequoia National Monument!
Thousands of hikers, campers, horseback riders, anglers, hunters, and skiers visit the Giant Sequoia National Monument each year. These magnificent forests provide essential habitat for the California spotted owl, Pacific fisher, and myriad other plants and animals. But the Forest Service has called for extensive logging of this natural cathedral, under the guise of fire protection. The Forest Service’s own scientists have found that logging large, fire-resistant trees like those in the Monument does little to prevent catastrophic wildfire. Prescribed fires and careful thinning of small trees and underbrush- especially near communities-have proven to be much more effective at preventing tragic wildfires.
Sequoia National Park, adjacent to the Monument, already provides a good example of how the forest should be managed. The Park is successfully restoring its giant sequoia ecosystem through the careful use of prescribed fire and a conservative small-tree thinning. Over several decades, the Park Service has made considerable progress in restoring a natural fire cycle to the forest without logging. That same careful stewardship should be applied inside the Monument. That’s why the Sierra Club is calling for the transfer of the Monument’s management to the National Park Service.