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Front St.Trails Section - Clovis Free PressBack St.
Vol. 17  No. 21 Final Edition
Clovis Free Press
August 23, 2000
Clinton's Sequoia Monument Legacy
Bad science
and party politics now threaten Sierra Nevada forests!
By David A. Bischel

     SACRAMENTO -- The Giant Sequoia National Monument designation put forward by the Clinton Administration in July was without any input from people and their elected representatives whom this designation will affect most. We believe this designation smacks of regulation without representation and violates previous agreements.

     The Mediated Settlement Agreement forged in 1990 by the former administration, forest product professionals and environmentalists alike — required that sequoia groves and buffer zones be mapped for a total of 26,959 acres. In 1992, President Bush visited the groves and ordered implementation of the Mediated Settlement Agreement and then signed a Presidential Proclamation to protect the groves for future generations.

     By comparison, the Clinton Administration proposal calls for setting aside about 340,000 acres in a form that he earlier opposed because of the Existing Mediated Settlement agreement and potential losses due to catastrophic wildfire. Not only is President Clinton ignoring the local people who will be affected by his proposal, he is also ignoring a large body of knowledge refuting the need for setting aside additional acres of land:

     1. The 1985 proceedings of the workshop on giant sequoia included a summary position by the Sierra Club that said, "Perhaps the biggest threat to some of the groves today is fire. Accumulated fuel and dense stands of fir and pine are a disaster waiting to happen. The Sierra Club has advocated a one-time timber harvest in some groves where whitewoods are too dense."
     2. The 1992 symposium on giant sequoia called, "Giant Sequoias: Their Place in the Ecosystem and Society" was held in Visalia following President Bush’s visit. The symposium included international scientists, forest managers and environmental activists who concluded, "One inescapable conclusion is that achieving the long-term sustainability of Giant Sequoia will take some form of active management rather than a passive legislative solution."
     3. And the 1996 Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project called for by Congress said, "The (mediated settlement) agreement seems to provide the flexibility necessary to develop a scientifically supportable plan for giant sequoia management…"

     If President Clinton has moved forward with his Monument designation despite opposition from people who live in the giant sequoia region. CFA calls on his administration to establish an independent panel to review the science and management necessary to protect the groves. Further, the Clintin-Gore administration must make resources available for individual grove-management plans required by the Mediated Settlement Agreement. CFA supports better integration of forest science and management to achieve the long-term protection of giant sequoia.

     [Editor's Note: Mr. Bischel is the president of The California Forestry Association, a non-profit trade association representing California's forest products profession. The CFA promotes public policy for an adequate and sustainable supply of forest products at an affordable cost while enhancing forest health and safety.
Letter to the Editor

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