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Speak for the Trees and Protect Giant Sequoia National Monument from New Threats

John Muir, once stated: “The wrongs done to trees, wrongs of every sort, are done in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, for when the light comes, the heart of the people is always right.”

In the spirit of Muir’s quote help us stop the new management plan for Giant Sequoia National Monument which “could lead to increased tree removal within the Monument – and at levels higher than before the Monument was designated. Send a message today to help protect our giant sequoias!”

John Muir (1838-1914) is one of the most famous and influential naturalists and conservationists, and the founder of the Sierra Club. Pictured above is Muir honoring America’s forests.

I invite you to journey with me along the next few pages to discover the beauty of our Giant Sequoia National Monument alongside Muir’s quotes honoring all trees.

The power of imagination makes us infinite. ~ John Muir

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    Last month, Sequoia National Forest released their Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Management Plan for the Giant Sequoia National Monument for public comment. The new plan was created because, despite the clear, protective intent and language of the Proclamation, the agency’s first plan, released in 2004, failed to implement the protective purposes of the 2000 Presidential Proclamation (Proclamation) that created the Monument. In fact, the Forest Service chose the most ecologically damaging and costly alternative as the management plan for the Monument. Specifically, the plan would have allowed the logging of up to 30 inch diameter trees, supposedly to prevent catastrophic fires, and trees of any size, supposedly to protect public safety, and failed to analyze an alternative that would remove the brush, lower branches, and small diameter trees (up to 4 inches in diameter) which are the most flammable materials in the forest.

    Sequoia ForestKeeper (www.sequoiaforestkeeper.org) filed a lawsuit in conjunction with five other organizations on January 27, 2005, in the Northern District Court of California in San Francisco against the harmful Monument Management Plan. We received notice on August 22, 2006, that we had won the suit on all points, and the Forest Service was forced to rewrite the Management Plan to provide actual protection for the Giant Sequoia ecosystems and the species and objects they contain.
    We are currently reading through the 11 pounds of documents that are included in the proposed management plan, and sadly, the Forest Service’s focus is solidly on logging within the Monument, with other considerations being obviously secondary considerations. Their idea of protection is cutting trees. The way to protect the forest is NOT to cut it down!
    There is also a great irony in one of the Forest Service’s focuses being on “protecting tribal lands from fire,” when the local Native Americans used fire as a tool to manage the forest for centuries before the Forest Service came along and destroyed the balance of fire in the forest ecosystem.
    It is obvious that the Forest Service still does not get it, that the sequoias are national treasures to be protected and preserved, not a timber land to exploit for the profit of a local sawmill. They have had 10 years to create a management plan that would follow the protective purposes intended when the area was established as a Monument, and they continue to try to use weak loopholes to get more chainsaws into the forest.
    Please take a moment to send a letter to your representative, asking them to transfer the Giant Sequoia National Monument into the care of the National Park Service. The time is now!

    Letter:
    Dear decision maker

    I am writing to urge you to use your power to finally bring real protection to the Giant Sequoia National Monument.

    The Monument was established in 2000 by President Bill Clinton to forever protect the remaining 327,000 acres of the Giant Sequoia ecosystem. But once again, the Giant Sequoia ecosystem is at great risk, and the Forest Service is again failing to provide adequate protection.

    The recently released Forest Service Management Plan for the Monument includes several options, including some which propose dramatic increases in logging and other incompatible uses. Some of the proposed alternatives by the Forest Service would actually include more logging than before the Monument was established.

    This is the Forest Service’s second attempt to write a plan consistent with the highest standards for sequoia management. This new draft plan does not meet the nation’s expectations for these treasured groves. I believe that the National Monument should be managed just like the adjacent Sequoia National Park, where logging is not allowed. None of the current options proposed by the Forest Service provide the highest standards needed for protecting the Giant Sequoia ecosystem.

    It will be a travesty if we allow the Forest Service and their friends in the timber industry to log throughout the home of most of the remaining giant sequoias left in the world. Now is the time to bring real protection to a national treasure by crafting a management plan that protects these magnificent trees, the other objects of interest in the Monument, and their surrounding ecosystem, permanently.

    If the Forest Service is incapable of managing the Monument in a manner that ensures protection of the Giant Sequoia ecosystem, after having ten years to do so, the time is now to move the Monument’s management to Sequoia National Park with its proven record of successful sequoia management.

    Sincerely,
    Your Name
    Your full Address
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