No appeals filed yet against Giant Sequoia National Monument plan
The period to file an appeal to either change or reverse the U.S. Forest Service’s decision regarding the selection of a management plan for the Giant Sequoia National Monument will draw to a close Thursday, Dec. 6.
To date, no appeals have been filed with the Regional Forester’s Office in Vallejo. Sequoia National Forest Supervisor Kevin Elliott, who manages the monument, says it’s all part of the waiting game. “It’s not uncommon for folks if they’re going to appeal to wait until the very end of the appeal period,” he said Tuesday.
The Forest Service’s plan, Record of Decision and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were released Sept. 4. The plan limits logging and emphasizes fire as the primary strategy for ecological restoration of the forest.
Elliott says that while some stakeholders raised concern over the size of trees that can be felled and over how much liberty the Forest Service might take with tree removal, to date he has only received positive reviews.
“We have indeed received some very positive feedback in the sense that we struck a good balance in protecting the very objects of interest that the proclamation focuses on,” Elliott said of President Bill Clinton’s order created in 2000 to protect 33 groves of giant sequoias on roughly 328,000 acres in the Sequoia National Forest.
Elliott says the new plan struck a balance with environmental and industry sectors and with the general public.
“This was 12 years in the making and I think people are ready to see us actually do something on the ground that truly makes a difference instead of continuing to plan and plan and plan,” he said. “I think that’s part of people’s positive feedback.”
Elliott says that if an appeal is filed, the U.S. Forest Service Chief’s Office in Washington D.C. will have 180 days to review it and either affirm it or toss it by mid-May. If Chief Tom Tidwell affirms the appeal, opponents to the plan will have an opportunity to sue the Forest Service.
If there aren’t any appeals, the Forest Service will move forward with implementing the plan.
Elliott, who assumed the forest supervisor position about a year ago, says the idea of the plan finally coming to fruition under his leadership is “wonderful”.
“I’m very pleased we were able to release the document in September, it’s simply a culmination of a lot of hard work and to me, it demonstrates the very passion people have for the monument,” he said.
Contact Denise Madrid at 784-5000, Ext. 1047. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseMadrid_.