In Our Own Backyard . . .

WildPlaces is a community benefit organization dedicated to the stewardship of the Southern Sierra Nevada which includes the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The 45th president of the US of A and his administration is proposing a major reduction of one of our most valued treasures, the Sequoiadendron giganteum aka Giant Sequoia. Currently there are three-hundred and twenty thousand acres of national monument, two-hundred and thirty thousand of which are proposed to no longer have the resource protections offered with a monument designation.

Many believe this is a start of a plan, to open up the forest for the privatization of our resources and to commence unsustainable logging techniques. We also understand it is important to protect what so many before us worked hard to protect. "We will see the same unsustainable, destructive extraction practices seen elsewhere as this administration dismantles California's natural legacy," explained Mehmet McMillan of WildPlaces, as he was describing how forest mismanagement will hurt our ecosystems for hundreds of years.

The Giant Sequoia National Monument is home to hundreds of species both flora and fauna. The mountain yellow-legged frog, Kern River Golden Trout, and Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, all of which are endangered species. Recovery efforts are now underway for them. Taking away protection, directly threatens the very existence of these species, not to mention the many more located throughout the country. Recovery efforts for a species, require large amounts of resources, with a marginal chance of success when its ecosystem is intact. Removing protections is like driving the nail in the coffin for these creatures.

WildPlaces made it possible for over one thousand volunteers and voters to protect these lands and rivers. Protecting our upland water sheds and its ecosystems are essential for the longevity of our natural resources. "You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see how important it is to protect our rivers," states Art Rodriguez- Director at Poplar Community Services District. Common question raised by those community members is of what are the benefits of removing monument designation" Who benefits? 

The Giant Sequoia Monument is one of the few places in Tulare County people travel around the world to see. The economical impact on one of the poorest counties in the nation, could be devastating for those business owners who struggled to make ends meet.

The City of Porterville is the nearest population center to the Giant Sequoia National Monument. In a recent article, Porterville City Council will vote to adopt a resolution in which it will support the removal of protections to our forest. The special city council meeting will be this Tuesday June 13th at 5:30 pm in Porterville's City Hall.

"The resolution will reinforce the justification of drastic reduction in federal funding, which protects our natural resources." J.D.