Thursday, August 27, 2009


Ruth Sandra Sperling

There is currently a public comment period right now for the public to comment on the DRAFT ALTERNATIVES for the Management Plan for the Giant Sequoia National Monument.

This Ongoing Public Process is based on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) , which though documented at the link provided, is explained in more common language at: .

Here is the web page covering the current development of the Giant Sequoia National Monument (GSNM) Management Plan:

You can read the proposed DRAFT ALTERNATIVES online in the Monument Public Commenting Portal. The documents are downloadable in pdf form there.

You can make (write) comments on them and mail them to:

Sequoia National Forest
Giant Sequoia National Monument
1839 South Newcomb Street
Porterville, CA 93257-9353

- or fax them to the Forest Supervisor's office at (559) 781-4744.

Calling up and leaving comments is a little difficult, but the phone number for their main office in Portervill, CA is (559) 784-1500.

This is just a small part of an Ongoing Public Process for managing one of the most ecologically significant ecosystems in the Continental United States - the Giant Sequoia ecosystem, which is a globally significant biodiversity hotspot within a globally significant biodiversity hotspot (the Sierra Nevada) within a larger globally significant biodiversity hotspot (the California Floristic Province) - check out Conservation International on the importance and locations of biodiversity hotspots!

Our National Forests and all public lands are for public use -- so us public can voice our opinions about how they are run. Some things are just Congressional and then you voice your opinions to Senators and Congressmen or Congresswomen, but this is about writing mangement plans for our public forests -- and public can also read public documents and voice their opinions about the management of the public lands!!
After the GSNM DRAFT ALTERNATIVES, the next step is the GSNM Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Watch for upcoming news -- sign up on the Monument Public Commenting Portal!!


On April 15, 2000, history was made when President Bill Clinton did the Presidential Proclamation establishing the Giant Sequoia National Monument, which you can read yourself at the link!!

But since that date, there has been a series of management and legal activities resulting in the current ongoing public process to get a Management Plan written and implemented that will accomplish the goals of the original Presidential Proclamation!

Yes - it has been going on over 9 years!!

But, if you have ever been to the Sequoia National Forest and what is now the Giant Sequoia National Monument -- and realize the extent of the logging (including removal of actual Giant Sequoias over a hundred years ago) -- and the ramifications of the years of logging there, you would understand, like I do -- that writing an implementable Management Plan that will accomplish the goals of the Presidential Proclamation, as quoted from the Presidential Proclamation itself (page 3 of the proclamation or page 24097 of the Federal Register) below, is no easy accomplishment!

"NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the Act of
June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431), do proclaim that there are
hereby set apart and reserved as the Giant Sequoia National Monument,
for the purpose of protecting the objects identified in the above preceding
paragraphs, all lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the
United States within the boundaries of the area described on the map
entitled ‘‘Proposed Giant Sequoia National Monument’’ attached to and forming
a part of this proclamation."

I went to meetings in various places around southern California for the discussion and public forum for establishing the Giant Sequoia National Monument.

It was in 2001 that I started going to public meetings, including meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board established per the Presidential Proclamation (see page 4 of the proclamation or page 24098 of the Federal Register), to find out what was going on regarding the management of the new Giant Sequoia National Monument.

I learned a tremendous amount listening to U S Forest Service staff and various agency and private scientists discuss the Giant Sequoia ecosystem and its current conditions and how to restore it to what is considered the desirable condition.

I also chose the scientists that I feel are the best to recommend the scientific methods to be used and how to develop the science for this particular ecosystem: Dr. David Graber of the National Park Service and Dr. Nathan Stephenson of the USGS -- and the SNEP authors and other scientists who agree with them.

If you are unfamiliar with what is going on, you might want to read the documents on the following list, which is linked:

-- Summary of the Interpretations of the Monument Proclamation prepared by Carie Fox as of May 2009
-- Sequoia National Forest Interpretation of the Proclamation dated May 22, 2009
-- Strategic Framework of June 2009 at
-- 2008 Symposium Speaker's Presentations at
-- Science Advisories of the GSNM Scientific Advisory Board (2003) at

Also, as regards the Scientific Advisory Board and the current process developing the Management Plan for the Giant Sequoia National Monument, and having attended the majority of the public meetings where they discussed what the Management Plan should be, I have the following comment to make public:

I have read in the Interpretations of the GSNM Presidential Proclamation about
the different views regarding the Scientific Advisory Board with the remanding
(invalidating) of the original Management Plan/Record of Decision from Art

As that (original) Management Plan was totally remanded and a
judge ordered them to re-write it, I agree with View 1 stated in Carrie Fox's
Interpretation of the Proclamation:

"View 1: Since the management plan associated with the last Scientific Advisory Board was invalidated, this will be the “initial management plan” and therefore another Scientific Advisory Board is required—one that is empanelled in the same time period in which the plan is being formulated and that will have the opportunity to comment on the draft plan. In apparent support of this, the Proclamation states that the Scientific Advisory Board is to provide scientific advice during the development of the initial management plan. [Lines 147-154]"

- from pages 12 and 13

That is all I have to say at this moment - except:

If you are so inclined -- I wish you Good Reading!!

Also, in 1999, when I first became aware of the planning going on for the National Forests of the Sierra Nevada, I spent some time in the then Sequioa National Forest, most of which became the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Being a landscape photographer, I took photographs of certain areas. Some of them I mounted. Below is a presentation I prepared. Both were taken in the Southern portion of the Giant Sequoia National Monument - off Western Divide Highway. The photograph on the left was taken in Long Meadow Grove on Western Divide Highway. The photograph on the right was taken on what I call the "Road to Windy Gap" - west of Western Divide Highway and around Nobe Young Meadow - an area that was definitely logged in the past.
One thing I would like to say about the differences between the Grove and the logged area, which is important to me: in the Giant Sequoia Grove there were birds singing and squirrels and chipmunks running around; in the logged area, it was totally quiet - no birds, no animals running around - which brings to mind Aldo Starker Leopold's comment about replanted clearcut areas or plantations: "...where a bluejay would have to pack a lunch to get across" (1978b, p.9). I love the birds and other wildlife in a forest and it "hurts" to see such logged areas!

Draw your own conclusions!!

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