The magnificent red-barked Giant Sequoias of the Sierra Nevada range, relatives to the coast redwood, are among the largest and oldest living things on earth. More than half of the Giant Sequoia groves in existence are part of the National Forest system, where they are subject to logging, bulldozing and road building. The ecosystem itself is seriously compromised, as the coast redwood ecosystem has been compromised by industrial logging.
In 2000, Bill Clinton established several national monuments, including the Giant Sequoia National Monument east of Bakersfield, to protect these trees, found only in John Muir's beloved "Range of Light". Problem is, the new monument is still managed by the U.S. Forest Service, now overseen by Bush appointee Mark Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist. In December 2002 the draft management plan for the 329,000-acre monument was released, proposing commercial logging, patch clearcuts within sequoia groves, and large-scale removal of large, live trees. The new management plan arrogantly ignores the fact that the point of the monument designation was to ensure greater protection than national forest management.
The plan is linked to the same ill advised, unscientific and corporate profit-driven prescriptions found in Bush's current public lands policy--the so-called "Healthy Forest Initiative". The Monument was established to protect the sequoia ecosystem and the species it supports, including the California spotted owl and the Pacific fisher. The fisher is nearly extinct in the Sierra, primarily due to habitat degradation from logging.
The final plan EIS is due out in mid-September.
More info at: http://sequoianet.org/ and www.sierraclub.org/ca/sequoia or contact the Sierra Club Sequoia Task Force at P.O. Box 3543, Visalia, CA 93278 or .