Giant Sequoia National Monument
consists of 34 groves
of ancient sequoias and the fforests that surround them.
Ancient Giants of the Sierra Nevada. Giant Sequoias are the largest trees on Earth, growing more than 300 feet tall and 30 feet across. They also are among the oldest, living up to 3,000 years or more. Today, they survive in about 70 groves on the western slopes of the Sierra. Thirty-four groves are in the Sequoia National Forest and will be protected in the new national monument.
The new monument consists of two parcels - one to the north and the other south of Sequoia National Park. The northern parcel is bordered by the Kings Wild and Scenic River; the southern by the North Fork Kern Wild and Scenic River.
Elevation ranges from 2,500 to 9,700 feet in a richly varied landscape that includes bold granite domes, spires, and plunging gorges.
|Archeological sites provide evidence of human habitation as long as 8,000 years ago. Wildlife includes the Pacific fisher, the American marten, the northern goshawk and the peregrine falcon. Giant Sequoias are the only known trees with nesting cavities large enough for California Condors, and the last breeding pair in the wild was found in a Giant Sequoia within the area of the new monument. Condors have since been reintroduced in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument and California's Coast Range, where they nest on cliff faces.|
|Because of their great longevity, Giant Sequoias hold within their rings
multi-millennial records of past environmental changes. These records show that the
Sequoias spread as the climate cooled and summer droughts shortened.
The New Monument will continue to be managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Roads will remain open and full public access will be permitted for hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, biking, river rafting, horseback riding, and other types of non-motorized recreation. Valid existing rights, such as water rights and access to private lands, will be preserved. And "special" uses -- such as grazing, youth camps, and bee keeping - will be allowed to continue under normal permitting processes.
|History and Public Process.
Interest in protecting Giant Sequoias began as early as 1864, when the Mariposa Grove was deeded by the federal government to the state of California.
By 1890, public reaction to the extensive logging of Sequoias contributed to creation of Sequoia, General Grant, and Yosemite National Parks. President Theodore Roosevelt later established the Sierra Forest Reserve, later divided into the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests.
In 1992, President Bush barred commercial logging within Sequoia groves on national forests. Legislation championed by Congressman George Brown and others to permanently protect the groves and surrounding forest did not pass Congress.
In January 2002, President Clinton asked Agriculture Secretary Glickman to recommend whether the groves should be protected under the Antiquities Act.
The Forest Service held public meetings in Visalia and Fresno, California, to gather public input, and pretended to consult with local, state, and tribal officials. They also talked to members of Congress and other federal agencies with expertise in Sequoia management.
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