Ruth Sandra Sperling
Wish I had one of my photographs of a Giant Sequoia to post in here, but none of them are digital or on digital media, so I can't. I took them with a manual camera - a Pentax 6x7 (medium format) - and I have yet to get them on digital media.
Living in Southern California, over the years, the Giant Sequoias were my favorite place to go to on the weekends. Living in a variety of places in Los Angeles County - now in the Antelope Valley - the Southern Portion of what is now the Giant Sequoia National Monument was always just a few hours away.
Being such a forest lover, it is no big surprise that I would like to weekend in a forest -- or visit one -- but having a forest with the Giant Sequoias in it has been a real treat!!
Unfortunately, there has been logging in what is now the Giant Sequoia National Monument -- and I have seen it. In the late 1980's I saw logging trucks -- and, yes, a clearcut on a back road.
So, I was a huge supporter of the establishment of the National Monument and went to a Public Forum in Fresno and actually got up and spoke for it -- by some lucky or unusual twist of fate, my number came up as the first speaker in that Public Forum -- and I managed to get up there and say my little bit without any preparation at all -- in favor of the establishment of the National Monument!!
That was in March 2000. In April 2000, President Bill Clinton did the Presidential Proclamation which took the National Monument out of commercial timber yield, which meant no more commercial logging around the Giant Sequoias, which I am totally grateful of -- having been around the Southern Portion of the Sequoia National Forest and seen way too much of the effect of commercial logging in that ecosystem.
I went to a bunch of meetings regarding the Giant Sequoia National Monument in 2000, 2001, and 2003, including a number of 2-day public meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board, who wrote Advisories for the development of the Giant Sequoia National Monument MANAGEMENT PLAN.
So much has happened since then - some of it in the legal arena -- and they are now in a Public Process to write the Giant Sequoia National Monument MANAGEMENT PLAN again.
Tomorrow (June 18, 2009) and Friday (June 19 2009), they are holding Public Meetings regarding the preliminary Draft Alternatives for this MANAGEMENT PLAN.
Let me tell you, as this MANAGEMENT PLAN is based on the Presidential Proclamation and this involves restoration of a commercially logged National Forest area -- from where I sit, this is not an easy PLAN to get done.
This commercially logged area needs restoration based on the most current scientific data for this type of ecosystem available - and as this is an on-going activity with research on such restoration going on all the time - the MANAGEMENT PLAN must allow for this.
I have placed links throughout this post -- take a look at them and read them -- there is a phenomenal amount of information available!!
I, unfortunately, cannot go to these particular meetings -- but I will be reading the documents on the Sequoia National Forest website. I submitted a 5 page letter on the Scoping Letter. I wrote letters in past years -- and I will write more.
This Public Process is an opportunity for all citizens to make comments on what the MANAGEMENT PLAN for the Giant Sequoia National Monument will be.
Do you love them?
Do you care about these gorgeous, fabulous, globally-significant huge (the largest in the world still, I believe) trees???
Even if all you have to say is that you totally support the total restoration of the ecosystem for these wonderful trees -- say it!!
Personally, I was involved in the Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign, whose Conservation Strategy for the Sierra Nevada National Forests (which includes the Sequoia National Forest and the Giant Sequoia National Monument) is based on the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project (SNEP) (Commissioned by Congress) -- and that is the scientific perspective that I support, including the scientists who were the authors of SNEP - who include Dr. David Graber and Dr. Nathan Stephenson, who work at the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park in the Giant Sequoias there.
I learned so much going to Public Meetings and reading various documents -- many of which are available on the Internet.
I invite you to do the same!!
(And, P-S-S-S-T - by the way - the Giant Sequoia ecosystem, which is inside the Sierra Nevada, which is inside the California Floristic Province - is a globally significant Biodiversity Hotspot identified by the scientists of Conservation International!!)