SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. – Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (the parks) is inviting public review and comment on an environmental assessment (EA) evaluating alternatives to restore giant sequoia groves and adjacent fisher habitat in areas severely impacted by the 2020 Castle and 2021 KNP Complex wildfires, and where adequate regeneration is otherwise not anticipated.
The public review period for this Re-Establish Tree Seedlings in Severely Burned Giant Sequoia Groves and Adjacent Fisher Habitat Environmental Assessment will begin today, July 7, 2023 and will end Sunday, August 6, 2023. This review period follows the receipt of initial feedback from the public in February and March 2023.
The EA, written in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), evaluates three alternatives and includes supporting analyses conducted in accordance with the Wilderness Act and other federal resource protection laws. Public review of the EA will inform the National Park Service’s (NPS) decisions on how to address the devastating loss of sequoias and fisher habitat during two massive wildfires that burned through the parks in 2020 and 2021.
Under the preferred alternative, the parks would collect, grow, and hand plant sequoia and other mixed conifer seedlings in up to six sequoia groves in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The parks would also plant conifer seedlings in a proposed critical habitat corridor of the endangered fisher immediately south of the Redwood Mountain Grove in Kings Canyon National Park.
The establishment of seedlings in these areas would point these groves and critical habitat toward recovery of their pre-fire forest species compositions, as they would have done naturally had they not experienced such severe fire effects during recent fires. Planting plans, informed by site-specific evaluations and analyses, will determine final acreage and specific locations of planting actions. The parks currently estimate that planting may be necessary on up to roughly 1,200 acres of previously forested areas.
Additional information on the EA is available on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/ReEstablishGiantSequoiaPostFire2021.
How to Participate
- Attend a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, July 25 at 5 p.m. PST
- Attend a site visit on July 21 or 28, 2023. Space for the site visits is limited; attendance is available on a first come, first served basis.
- Submit your comments online through midnight, Sunday, August 6, 2023. 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 Tree Seedlings Post Fire
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271
Following the public comment period, the NPS will consider all feedback to inform next steps, which could either be selecting one of the proposed alternatives (or a variation of an alternative) for implementation or determining that additional analysis is necessary before making a decision.
Public input is critical to this process. If an alternative is selected for implementation following this public review period, the NPS will document the decision through a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The NPS anticipates a decision by fall 2023.