Forest Service Bushwhacks Giant Sequoia National Monument


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Forest Service Bushwhacks Giant Sequoia National Monument

  1. 1. Forest Service BushwhacksGiant Sequoia National Monumentby Bill Corcoran, Sierra Club Southern California Regional RepresentativeW hat’s big and tall and get no respect? e giant sequoias managed by the U.S. Forest Service.For years, Sierra Club activists have fought to protectthe giant sequoia ecosystem from logging and roadbuilding on Sequoia National Forest, home tonearly half of the world’s remaining sequoia groves.ree years ago, then-President Clinton stood inthe shade of a giant sequoia grove and signed aproclamation creating Giant Sequoia NationalMonument, carving it out of Sequoia NationalForest. Activists knew that they weren’t out ofthe log yard yet, but felt that they had made asignificant step forward in protecting the ecosystem andrestoring the natural processes that had created this beauti-ful place.The Forest Serviceplan would put loggingcenter stage. In fact,they want to log morelarge trees on theMonument than they’reallowed to on thesurrounding forest.Clinton’s proclamation assigned the management of the Monument to the For-est Service and charged the agency with developing a management plan withclear restrictions on logging.Folks figured that the Forest Service would try to sneak some logging back ontothe Monument, but what the Forest Service has done—with the blessing of theBush administration—has surprised even the most hardened activists.e Forest Service plan would put logging center stage. In fact, they want tolog more large trees on the Monument than they’re allowed to on the sur-rounding forest, up to ten million board feet a year. ey even want to log gi-1 from Tehipite View, February 2003
  2. 2. ant sequoias. All of this is based on the theory that if of the Bush administration’s “Monument to Logging”these trees aren’t logged, catastrophic fires will destroy plan. He told the Bakersfield Californian, “I think thethe Monument. Forest Service is on target. My only question is, are we going far enough to hopefully prevent catastrophicYes, it’s true—they say that they will log the forest to fire?”save it. ey haven’t gotten the message that it’s theirlogging that has imperiled the forest. In other words, if the loggers and the Forest Service keep exaggerating the risk of fire, they can keep theMore quietly, buried deep in their environmental mill open for a long time. Never mind that there’s documentation, they nothing stopping the Forest Service from thinning the admit to wanting forest near houses and businesses. ey have alwaysThey admit to to save an object had free rein to protect people and property. Neverwanting to save an of interest unmen- mind that in meetings with Sierra Club activists, forest tioned in Clinton’s officials have acknowledged that giant sequoia grovesobject of interest proclamation: the are not at risk for catastrophic fire. And forget aboutunmentioned local sawmill. Com- pointing out that much of last year’s fire on Sequoiain Clinton’s mercial logging of National Forest burned brush, not trees. the Monument, theyproclamation: write, “might make In the same Californian article, George Woodwell, whothe local sawmill. the difference be- served on the science advisory panel appointed suppos- tween continued op- edly to guide the Forest Service in developing its plan, eration and closure pointed out that the only way theof the one mill available to serve the Monument.” scientists were allowed to provide input wasKent Duysen, the general man- by responding toager of that mill, is a big fan questions from Continued on page 32 from Tehipite View, February 2003
  3. 3. Take Action!!! Continued from page 2 the Forest Service. Woodwell, founder and director of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts,• Contact Jim Whitfield, Team Leader, Giant Sequoia said, “I have a personal view, which is that the [Bush] National Monument, 900 West Grand Avenue, administration is advocating more roads and more tim- Porterville, CA 93257 or email the Forest Service at ber cutting. at’s not a sensible policy and certainly Let them know that their not necessarily in the public interest.” preferred alternative (Alternative 6) is the worst they could have chosen and outrageously inconsistent e impacts of this logging, not just to the giant se- with the presidential proclamation creating the quoia old growth forest but also to wildlife, are poten- Monument. Its reliance on logging undermines the tially severe. Pacific fisher, California spotted owl, and purposes of the Monument and must be rejected. many other ancient forest dependent species are barely While flawed, Alternative 4 is much closer to surviving in the Southern Sierra. e return to the bad the ecosystem restoration and recreational use old days of logging may be the final blow to their vi- articulated in the proclamation. ability.• Send a copy of your letter to your U.S. Senators and Representative at the following addresses: Visitors to the Monument can check out the George Bush giant sequoia, named after the elder Bush, who Senator (Barbara Boxer) (Dianne Feinstein) made a campaign stop a decade ago and made a tooth- U.S. Senate less proclamation to protect the giant sequoias. But Washington, D.C. 20510 then again, at least he felt like he had to make the Rep. gesture. His son’s administration seems to have fore- U.S. House of Representatives gone even that.  Washington, D.C. 20515• Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Most have a website where you can easily email your letter.• Attend public meetings sponsored by the Forest Service in your area. For information see our email alert list by sending the message“Sequoia Alert” to learn more about how you can help protect ourNational Monument, contact Bill Corcoran or (213) 387-6528x208, Joe Fontaine at, orCarla Cloer at the George Bush tree at the Sierra Club Sequoia Task Force website at from Tehipite View, February 2003