For Immediate Release: March 6, 2023
Reference Number: 8550-2310
Contact: Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, Phone: (559) 679-2866
SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. – The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public feedback on a proposal to replant giant sequoia and other mixed conifer seedlings in areas severely impacted by the recent Castle and KNP Complex wildfires and where regeneration is otherwise not anticipated in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Due to technical difficulties during the virtual public meeting last week, the parks have rescheduled the virtual public meeting for Tuesday March 7, from 5 p.m. – 6:30 pm PST. The link to join the meeting can be found on the project website.
The NPS is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act. This process includes completing supporting analyses in accordance with the Wilderness Act and other laws to develop and evaluate alternatives to ensure proposed agency action conforms with all federal resource protection laws.
The NPS proposes collecting, growing, and hand planting sequoia, sugar pine, Jeffrey pine, and ponderosa pine in up to six sequoia groves in the national parks. The NPS is also proposing to plant pine seedlings in a mixed conifer forest corridor of proposed critical habitat for the endangered fisher, a small mammal, immediately south of the Redwood Mountain Sequoia Grove in Kings Canyon National Park.
Under the proposed action, establishing seedlings in severely burned areas would mimic natural processes pointing these groves and fisher habitat toward recovery of their pre-fire forest species compositions, as they would have done naturally had they not experienced severe fire effects during recent fires. Planting plans, informed by site-specific evaluations and minimum requirement analyses, would determine final acreage and specific locations of actions. The NPS currently estimates that planting may be necessary on up to roughly 1,200 acres of previously forested areas.
To learn more about the proposed action and this planning effort and to provide comments, please visit the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website.
Public comments on the proposed action will be accepted through midnight, March 18. During this time, any individual or group can submit comments electronically through the project website, which is the preferred method, or via mail to:
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Attn: Re-Establish Sequoias
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271
Comments that provide insights about the project’s purpose and the parks’ current proposal are helpful, and new ideas and suggestions are also welcome. Following the public comment period, the NPS will analyze and consider all feedback and begin preparation of the assessment.
The NPS will not select an alternative for implementation until after the analysis of all options, and their potential impacts, have been completed within the EA and all other analyses or consultations in accordance with other environmental laws have been completed. The NPS anticipates the EA will be available for public review in summer 2023.