Presented by the Sierra Club Redwood Chapter Newsletter,
The REDWOOD NEEDLES
On Saturday, April 15, President Bill Clinton created the Giant Sequoia National Monument, using his powers under the federal Antiquities Act to preserve "objects of scientific or historic interest." Local Sierra Club leaders including Carla Cloer, Joe Fontaine, Martin Litton, Harold and Janet Wood, Patti Laursen and many others participated in the signing ceremony, braving the chilly morning near the Trail of the Giants in Sequoia National Forest to witness the President declare permanent protection for 328,000 acres of forest land.
Protection of all giant Sequoias on federal land has been a dream of conservationists since the days of John Muir. Sequoias grow only in the southern Sierra Nevada range. Less than half the groves were permanently off-limits to logging and other degradation before the Monument declaration, and many Sierra Club activists had spent decades working toward this goal.
"This is not about locking lands up; it is about freeing them up for all Americans for all time," said the President. "We're here because we recognize that these trees, though they live to be very old and grow very large, like life itself are still fragile." Participants in the ceremony celebrated on April 15, but vowed to continue to work to protect the Monument as well as what was not included in Monument boundaries. The Club's Sequoia Task Force is already meeting to begin preparing involvement in the Forest Service's process to create a management plan for the Monument.
Meanwhile, some members of Congress are working on legislation that might undermine provisions of the Monument proclamation. While no final draft bill is ready at this writing, the proposed legislation would authorize increased "fuels treatment" within the Monument for the next three years as well as "codifying" the Proclamation language in a new law and extending permits for some permittees. Those working on this bill include Senator Dianne Feinstein (D), Reps. Cal Dooley (D), George Radanovich (R), and Bill Thomas (R). While Senator Feinstein said she supported the Monument at the time of the Proclamation, the bill she is proposing raises serious concerns.
Write Sen. Feinstein at U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510. Call her at (202) 224-3841.