Giant Sequoia National Monument is still awaiting a plan

VISALIA, Calif. — In April 2000, President Clinton — surrounded by some of the largest trees in the world — signed a proclamation establishing the Giant Sequoia National Monument, carving 328,000 acres from the Sequoia National Forest in California's Tulare and Fresno counties.

Fast-forward to 2008, and there's still no plan in place to govern recreation, fire management and protection of trees, wildlife and historic resources amid the groves of towering giant sequoia trees, as mandated by the proclamation.

It's not for lack of trying. A management plan for the monument was created four years ago, but a federal judge trashed it in 2006 after environmental groups and the California attorney general sued the U.S. Forest Service over alleged flaws in its scientific assessments and its provisions to allow some timber cutting.

Now, the Forest Service is taking another swing, hoping to avoid flaws in the original plan.

Starting nearly from scratch — and with a heavy dose of early input from recreationists, conservationists, environmentalists, mountain residents and forest-oriented businesses — officials are slowly working their way toward a new management plan that not only passes legal muster, but also steers away from knee-deep scientific and government jargon that made the old version nearly incomprehensible to the general public.

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Read about the Giant Sequoia Monument management plan.

View President Clinton's proclamation.