Sequoia National Forest Plan Revision Updated 9/27/2019

 

Stewards of the Sequoia submitted a comment letter on 9/26/19  objecting to the proposed closure of up to 30 miles of trails due to the expansion of a possible one mile wide Pacific Crest Trail Corridor and other issues CLICK HERE TO READ OUR LETTER
 
Stewards are very concerned about the Revised Draft Sequoia Forest Plan and how it will harm recreation. We have been working to defend recreation interests during that past five years within the Forest Planning Process.
 
The purpose of Forest Plans is to provide the vision for the future of our National Forest.
  • They determine what projects will be allowed and which will be a priority.
  • They can also discourage certain projects or activities
Here is some information regarding the current Forest Sequoia Forest Plan Proposal and how it will impact recreation. 
 
Update on Draft Forest Plan and Future of Recreation in Sequoia
 
On August 20, 2019 the Forest Service hosted a meeting for the public to discuss the Revised Draft Forest Plan. Stewards are concerned with many aspects of the plan. Many of which we have brought to the attention of the Forest Service in our comment letters. We are sad to see that our comments have been largely ignored. Instead the Forest Service appears to be going full steam ahead with proposals that would harm recreation.
 
Stewards have been been meeting with Forest Service planning staff to ensure our concerns are addressed in the Final Plan.
READ OUR COMMENT
  • Read an article about the Forest Plan meeting in the Kern Valley Sun by Chris Horgan Click Here
 
Stewards Submits Comment Cosigned By 51 Organizations
 
In addition to being heavily engaged in the Forest Plan revision process over the past five years, including five trips to Sacramento Forest meetings, Stewards recently submitted a comment letter to protect recreation interests. Stewards invested several hundred hours drafting the comment on substantive issues that will provide the best chance to influence the Forest Plan. Comment letters are super important, and they are even more powerful when cosigned by other organizations and businesses as the Stewards letter is. This shows a diverse spectrum of recreation and community interests all agree on the need for more trails and less restrictions. Read Stewards most recent comment letter HERE
 
Pacific Crest Trail Proposal Seeks to Restrict All Other Recreation
 
In September 2014 the Forest Service released numerous proposals in their Forest Plan Revision including one for the Pacific Crest Trail to create a PCT corridor perhaps one mile wide in which no motorized recreation would be allowed, as well as eliminating all trail and road crossings which are closer than 5 miles apart. The PCT proposal also requires the Forest Service to improve the PCT view shed paid for with your tax dollars. Stewards of the Sequoia submitted an extensive comment letter on behalf of our members objecting to this draconian proposal which would close 21 square miles of multiple use lands in Sequoia alone.
 
The community at large is also concerned. We want to thank the many businesses, chambers of commerce and even groups who maintain the PCT for objecting to the PCT Land Grab. Click below to read some of their letters
One would think the folks who enjoy and manage the PCT would be content with this incredible trail stretching from Mexico to Canada. We know that if the PCT was a motorized trail users would be extremely happy and would be out enjoying the trail and doing trail maintenance, as well as........ READ MORE
 
Survey shows no OHV issues on PCT in Sequoia
Late in 2016 Kern County Sheriff released the results of a two year investigation in response to allegations by ORV Watch of repeated OHV trespass on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) causing irreparable harm. The Sheriff found the ORV Watch allegations were false and that motorized trespass on the PCT was neglible. The Kern County Sheriffs survey of 490 PCT hikers this past season found that 90% of PCT hikers in Sequoia had no problem with seeing, hearing or sharing public lands with OHV's. This new information further shows there is no need for the draconian Forest Service one mile wide PCT Corridor.
 
New 2016 Data Released by PCT Hikers
Each year PCT gurus produce a PCT Hiking Survey. This years survey just like others before it does not indicate any problem with OHV recreation or any desire by PCT hikers to restrict OHV or other forms of public lands use. It is now obvious the PCT Land Grab has nothing to do with the PCT and everything to do with a vocal minority trying to lock out responsible motorized recreation without a valid reason.
 
WILDERNESS EVALUATION MAY CAUSE TRAIL CLOSURES
 
In 2014 both Kern and Tulare Counties submitted letters to the Forest Service Opposing more Wilderness as requested by Stewards of the Sequoia. This was in response to the current Forest Service review of all multiple use lands to determine if more lands should be designated as Wilderness. People need to be aware that Wilderness lands have the most restrictions and do not allow motorized or mountain bike recreation.. Multiple use lands are where over 98% of the public recreate so it is important that they not be shut out through inappropriate Wilderness designations. With a mere 2% of the public recreating in Wilderness lands which cover about 50% of the Sequoia National Forest, we do not need more Wilderness, and we cannot afford to lose any more multiple use lands. Read about the Kern County Meeting and the Sierra Club wrangling HERE
 
Read the Kern County letter Opposing Wilderness Recommendation HERE
 
Read the comment letter Stewards of the Sequoia just submitted to the Forest Service detailing WHY MORE WILDERNESS is
 
  • BAD FOR RECREATION
  • BAD FOR THE ECONOMY
  • BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
 
GENERAL BACKGROUND
Each National Forest seeks to revise their Forests plans every 15 years. However due to litigation and funding Sequoia, like many other National Forests, last revised their Forest Plan 25 years ago.
 
Since Forest Plans will impact future recreation opportunities Stewards of the Sequoia have been working proactively for the past three years to make sure that all forms of recreation, including motorized recreation are treated fairly and made a priority. We have also been working to ensure that extreme environmental issues do not become a higher priority than human issues like jobs, recreation and forest health on public lands.
 
In January 2014 the Forest Service announced their desire to determine the "Need for Change" in Forest Planning. Stewards of the Sequoia submitted a letter cosigned by seventeen organizations to the Forest Service regarding the issues that we feel "Need to Change" in the Forest Plan. After meeting with the Forest Service Stewards also submitted a truly stellar follow up comment letter. Take a look at those two letters because they offer a way to not only keep the trails we have but to add new trails as well.
 
More recently in September 2014 the Forest Service released numerous proposals in their Forest Plan Revision including one for the Pacific Crest Trail to create a PCT corridor perhaps one mile wide in which no motorized recreation would be allowed, as well as eliminating all trail and road crossings which are closer than 5 miles apart. The PCT proposal also requires the Forest Service to improve the PCT view shed paid for with your tax dollars. Stewards of the Sequoia submitted an extensive comment letter on behalf of our members objecting to this draconian proposal which would close 21 square miles of multiple use lands in Sequoia alone.
 
One would think the folks who enjoy and manage the PCT would be content with this incredible trail stretching from Mexico to Canada. We know that if the PCT was a motorized trail users would be extremely happy and would be out enjoying the trail and doing trail maintenance, as well as........ READ MORE
 
 
 
Years Of Work Pay Off With HUGE Turn Around In Forest Planning
 
When the Forest Service began their 
Sierra Dialog
Sierra Cascades Dialogs in Sacramento three years ago the majority of groups speaking out wanted greater focus on extreme environmental issues and associated restrictions with little or no consideration for recreation or economic interests.
 
Stewards of the Sequoia, CORVA and other organizations pushed at these Dialogs to make recreation a priority in Forest Planning. In April 2014 the thirteenth Dialog session was held in Sacramento and just about every organization now feels Access is key to the future of our National Forests, including the need for more routes for all forms of recreation such as motorized and mountain bike trails.
 
In 2015 Stewards submitted a proposal to use Monitoring, which has been used in the past to close trails, instead to be used to open more trails to disperse use and reduce impacts.
 
Our work is paying off. Stewards sees a bright future ahead and we look forward to forging new alliances with recreation and other groups to ensure the Sequoia Forest Plan makes access and recreation a priority.
 
 
 
Stewards Gets Flawed Science Synthesis Revised
 
In 2013 a Science Synthesis was drafted based on two years of Sierra Cascade Dialogs which Stewards had participated in. This Synthesis is the basis of future Forest Planning, so it is most important that it be balanced.
However the Synthesis was rife with incorrect biased statements and ignored all of the input Stewards, CORVA and others submitted. We submitted an in depth report exposing the many errors which caused the Forest Service to extensively revise the Synthesis.
 
Stewards created a short Video explaining how the National Visitor Use Monitoring has undercounted many forms of recreation including motorized recreation.
 
The Sequoia Forest released their 266 page Forest Assessment on 12/26/2013
 
Fortunately the the Sequoia Assessment has taken the high road by not including the numerous biased derogatory and incorrect statements which Stewards objected to and pointed out to the Forest Service over the past three years during scoping.
 
The Sequoia Assessment recognizes the importance of roads and trails for recreation, noting that driving for pleasure is one of the most popular activities in the forest.. Also noted is the need for fuel reduction in order to promote forest health.
 
Determining the future of your Forest
 
Stewards have spent a considerable amount of time and effort contributing to new Forest Service Living Assessment documents with very good results on behalf of our members interests. The fair and balanced nature of the Sequoia Assessment is just one aspect of how our efforts have paid off..
 
The Sequoia National Forest used a new online format called a WIKI where you can read and edit their Forest Plan Living Assessment document which will form the basis for the Sequoia Forest Plan. You can access this Living Assessment at
 
Once on that page you can click on the Go To Chapters page
 
Then click on Sequoia National Forest where you will find all the Chapters for the Sequoia. Click on the whole document or one chapter at a time to read them. These were used to help create the current Sequoia Assessment.
 
Another Success Story
Stewards work kept almost all the Breckenridge, Greenhorn and Isabella existing trails open Read More>>>>