Compilation of Weekly Presidential Documents - April 24, 2000 - Proclamation 7295--Establishment of the Giant Sequoia National Monument

� Proclamation 7295-Establishment of the Giant Sequoia National




� April 15, 2000



� By the President of the United States of America



� A Proclamation



� The rich and varied landscape of the Giant Sequoia National

Monument holds a diverse array of scientific and historic resources.

Magnificent groves of towering giant sequoias, the world's largest

trees, are interspersed within a great belt of coniferous forest,

jeweled with mountain meadows. Bold granitic domes, spires, and

plunging gorges texture the landscape. The area's elevation climbs

from about 2,500 to 9,700 feet over a distance of only a few miles,

capturing an extraordinary number of habitats within a relatively

small area. This spectrum of ecosystems is home to a diverse array

of plants and animals, many of which are rare or endemic to the

southern Sierra Nevada. The monument embraces limestone caverns and

holds unique paleontological resources documenting tens of thousands

of years of ecosystem change. The monument also has many

archaeological sites recording Native American occupation and

adaptations to this complex landscape, and historic remnants of

early Euroamerican settlement as well as the commercial exploitation

of the giant sequoias. The monument provides exemplary opportunities

for biologists, geologists, paleontologists, archaeologists, and

historians to study these objects.



� Ancestral forms of giant sequoia were a part of the western North

American landscape for millions of years. Giant sequoias are the

largest trees ever to have live, and are among the world's

longest-lived trees, reaching ages of more than 3,200 years or more.

Because of this great longevity, giant sequoias hold within their

tree rings multimillennial records of past environmental changes

such as climate, fire regimes, and consequent forest response. Only

one other North American tree species, the high-elevation

bristlecone pine of the desert mountain ranges east of the Sierra

Nevada, holds such lengthy and detailed chronologies of past changes

and events.



� Sequoias and their surrounding ecosystems provide a context for

understanding ongoing environmental changes. For example, a century

of fire suppression has led to an unprecedented failure in sequoia

reproduction in otherwise undisturbed groves. Climatic change also

has influenced the sequoia groves; their present highly disjunct

distribution is at least partly due to generally higher summertime

temperatures and prolonged summer droughts in California from about

10,000 to 4,500 years ago. During that period, sequoias were rarer

than today. Only following a slight cooling and shortening of summer

droughts, about 4,500 years ago, has the sequoia been able to spread

and create today's groves.



� These giant sequoia groves and the surrounding forest provide an

excellent opportunity to understand the consequences of dif ferent

approaches to forest restoration. These forests need restoration to

counteract the effects of a century of fire suppression and logging.

Fire suppression has caused forests to become denser in many areas,

with increased dominance of shade-tolerant species. Woody debris has

accumulated, causing an unprecedented buildup of surface fuels. One

of the most immediate consequences of these changes is an increased

hazard of wildfires of a severity that was rarely encountered in

pre-Euroamerican times. Outstanding opportunities exist for studying

the consequences of different approaches to mitigating these

conditions and restoring natural forest resilience.



� The great elevational range of the monument embraces a number of

climatic zones, providing habitats for an extraordinary diversity of

plant species and communities. The monument is rich in rare plants

and is home to more than 200 plant species endemic to the southern

Sierra Nevada mountain range, arrayed in plant communities ranging

from low-elevation oak woodlands and chaparral to high-elevation

subalpine forest. Numerous meadows and streams provide an

interconnected web of habitats for moisture-loving species



� This spectrum of interconnected vegetation types provides essential

habitat for wildlife, ranging from large, charismatic animals to

less visible and less familiar forms of life, such as fungi and

insects. The mid-elevation forests are dominated by massive conifers

arrayed in a complex landscape mosaic, providing one of the last

refugia for the Pacific fisher in California. The fisher appears to

have been extirpated from the northern Sierra Nevada mountain range.

The forests of the monument are also home to great gray owl,

American marten, northern goshawk, peregrine falcon, spotted owl,

and a number of rare amphibians. The giant sequoias themselves are

the only known trees large enough to provide nesting cavities for

the California condor, which otherwise must nest on cliff faces. In

fact, the last pair of condors breeding in the wild was discovered

in a giant sequoia that is part of the new monument. The monument's

giant sequoia ecosystem remains available for the return and study

of condors.



� The physiography and geology of the monument have been shaped by

millions of years of intensive uplift, erosion, volcanism, and

glaciation. The monument is dominated by granitic rocks, most

noticeable as domes and spires in areas such as the Needles. The

magnificent Kern Canyon forms the eastern boundary of the monument's

southern unit. The canyon follows an ancient fault, forming the only

major north-south river drainage in the Sierra Nevada. Remnants of

volcanism are expressed as hot springs and soda springs in some




� Particularly in the northern unit of the monument, limestone

outcrops, remnants of an ancient seabed, are noted for their caves.

Subfossil vegetation entombed within ancient woodrat middens in

these caves has provided the only direct evidence of where giant

sequoias grew during the Pleistocene Era, and documents substantial

vegetation changes over the last 50,000 or more years. Vertebrate

fossils also have been found within the middens. Other

paleontological resources are found in meadow sediments, which hold

detailed records of the last 10 millennia of changing vegetation,

fire regimes, and volcanism in the Sierra Nevada. The

multi-millennial, annual- and seasonalresolution records of past

fire regimes held in giant sequoia tree-rings are unique worldwide.



� During the past 8,000 years, Native American peoples of the Sierra

Nevada have lived by hunting and fishing, gathering, and trading

with other people throughout the region. Archaeological sites such

as lithic scatters, food-processing sites, rock shelters, village

sites, petroglyphs, and pictographs are found in the monument. These

sites have the potential to shed light on the roles of prehistoric

peoples, including the role they played in shaping the ecosystems on

which they depended.



� One of the earliest recorded references to giant sequoias is found

in the notes of the Walker Expedition of 1833, which described

"trees of the redwood species, incredibly large . . , ." The world

became aware of giant sequoias when sections of the massive trees

were transported east and displayed as curiosities for eastern

audiences. Logging of giant sequoias throughout the Sierra Nevada

mountain range began in 1856. Logging has continued intermittently

to this day on nonfederal lands within the area of the monument.

Early entrepreneurs, seeing profit in the gigantic trees, began

acquiring lands within the present monument under the Timber and

Stone Act in the 1880s. Today our understanding of the history of

the Hume Lake and Converse Basin areas of the monument is supported

by a treasure trove of historical photographs and other

documentation. These records provide a unique and unusually clear

picture of more than half a century of logging that resulted in the

virtual removal of most forest in some areas of the monument.

Outstanding opportunities exist for studying forest resilience to

largescale logging and the consequences of different approaches to

forest restoration.



� Section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431)

authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public

proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric

structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest

that are situated upon lands owned or controlled by the Government

of the United States to be national monuments, and to reserve as a

part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases,

shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper

care and management of the objects to be protected.



� Whereas it appears that it would be in the public interest to

reserve such lands as a national monument to be known as the Giant

Sequoia National Monument:



� Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United

States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the

Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431), do proclaim that

there are hereby set apart and reserved as the Giant Sequoia

National Monument, for the purpose of protecting the objects

identified in the above preceding paragraphs, all lands and

interests in lands owned or controlled by the United States within

the boundaries of the area described on the map entitled "Proposed

Giant Sequoia National Monument" attached to and forming a part of

this proclamation. The Federal land and interests in land reserved

consist of approximately 327,769 acres, which is the smallest area

compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be

protected as identified in the above preceding paragraphs.



� All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of

this monument are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from entry,

location, selection, sale, leasing, or other disposition under the

public land laws including, but not limited to, withdrawal from

locating, entry, and patent under the mining laws and from

disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal

leasing, other than by exchange that furthers the protective

purposes of the monument. Lands and interests in lands within the

boundaries of the monument not owned by the United States shall be

reserved as a part of the monument upon acquisition of title thereto

by the United States.



� The establishment of this monument is subject to valid existing




� Timber sales under contract as of the date of the proclamation and

timber sales with a decision notice signed after January 1, 1999,

but prior to December 31, 1999, may be completed consistent with the

terms of the decision notice and contract. No portion of the

monument shall be considered to be suited for timber production, and

no part of the monument shall be used in a calculation or provision

of a sustained yield of timber from the Sequoia National Forest.

Removal of trees, except for personal use fuel wood, from within the

monument area may take place only if clearly needed for ecological

restoration and maintenance or public safety.



� The Secretary of Agriculture shall manage the monument, along with

the underlying Forest, through the Forest Service, pursuant to

applicable legal authorities, to implement the purposes and

provisions of this proclamation. The Secretary of Agriculture shall

prepare, within 3 years of this date, a management plan for this

monument, and shall promulgate such regulations for its management

as deemed appropriate. The plan will provide for and encourage

continued public and recreational access and use consistent with the

purposes of the monument.



� Unique scientific and ecological issues are involved in management

of giant sequoia groves, including groves located in nearby and

adjacent lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the

National Park Service. The Secretary, in consultation with the

National Academy of Sciences, shall appoint a Scientific Advisory

Board to provide scientific guidance during the development of the

initial management plan. Board membership shall represent a range of

scientific disciplines pertaining to the objects to be protected,

including, but not necessarily limited to, the physical, biological,

and social sciences.



� The Secretary, through the Forest Service, shall, in developing any

management plans and any management rules and regulations governing

the monument, consult with the Secretary of the Interior, through

the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. The

final decision to issue any management plans and any management

rules and regulations rests with the Secretary of Agriculture.

Management plans or rules and regulations developed by the Secretary

of the Interior governing uses within national parks or other

national monuments administered by the Secretary of the Interior

shall not apply within the Giant Sequoia National Monument.



� The management plan shall contain a transportation plan for the

monument that provides for visitor enjoyment and understanding about

the scientific and historic objects in the monument, consistent with

their protection. For the purposes of protecting the objects

included in the monument, motorized vehicle use will be permitted

only on designated roads, and nonmotorized mechanized vehicle use

will be permitted only on designated roads and trails, except for

emergency or authorized administrative purposes or to provide access

for persons with disabilities. No new roads or trails will be

authorized within the monument except to further the purposes of the

monument. Prior to the issuance of the management plan, existing

roads and trails may be closed or altered to protect the objects of

interest in the monument, and motorized vehicle use will be

permitted on trails until but not after December 31, 2000.



� Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to diminish or enlarge

the jurisdiction of the State of California with respect to fish and

wildlife management.



� There is hereby reserved, as of the date of this proclamation and

subject to valid existing rights, a quantity of water sufficient to

fulfill the purposes for which this monument is established. Nothing

in this reservation shall be construed as a relinquishment or

reduction of any water use or rights reserved or appropriated by the

United States on or before the date of this proclamation.



� Laws, regulations, and policies pertaining to administration by the

Department of Agriculture of grazing permits and timber sales under

contract as of the date of this proclamation on National Forest

System lands within the boundaries of the monument shall continue to

apply to lands within the monument.



� Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to affect existing

special use authorizations; existing uses shall be governed by

applicable laws, regulations, and management plans.



� Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing

withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the national

monument shall be the dominant reservation.



� Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to

appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of this monument

and not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof.



� In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day

of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the

Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and




� William J. Clinton



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