It took more than 80 years but the Sequoia National Forest Headquarters are where they intended to be all along.
To celebrate a ribbon-cutting for the headquarters will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, February 1 at the site at 220 E. Morton near downtown. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien and Sequoia National Forest Supervisor Teresa Benson will host the ribbon-cutting. After the ribbon-cutting tours of the site will be held from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
Since the 1940s, the SQF Headquarters moved to leased facilities throughout Porterville area. For years, Forest Supervisors and engineers discussed moving the facility back to the work center on Henrahan and Morton. Engineering staff designed a new headquarters for the work center site in the 1950s, but the project never came to fruition.
“Although it has taken a long time to fulfill this vision, we are looking forward to sharing the new state-of-the-art facility with the community to use and enjoy," Benson said.
Construction of the new $7.5 million headquarters began in February 2021. The one-story, 11,000-square-foot facility consolidated staff from the former Forest Headquarters, Central California Interagency Communications Center, CCICC/dispatc), and Forest Engineering building into one energy-efficient facility at a significant cost savings, the forest service stated.
The Sequoia National Forest headquarters were moved from its previous site on Newcomb south of Porterville. The county of Tulare is acquiring that site and will develop it into the new Tulare County Sheriff's Office substation to replace the substation at Morton and Third, which is considered outdated and too small.
"Our new facility now serves as 'home base' for 66 employees, including the CCICC or dispatch and engineering, while offering a Visitor's Information Center, open-air cubicles, and meeting spaces. In addition, it functions as a point of contact for Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument visitors," Benson said.
The Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument encompass more than 1.1 million acres within Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties. The Forest is within a day's drive of the coast, Los Angeles, and San Diego, with easy access for visitors worldwide.
Sequoia National Forest offers 52 developed campgrounds, hiking on more than 1,147 miles of trails, including 47 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, more than 314,448 acres of wilderness, 222 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers, 2,617 rivers and streams, world-class whitewater rapids, 158 ponds and lakes, boating, fishing and horseback riding.
The new Sequoia National Forest headquarters opened at its current site on November 7 of last year. The headquarters are open from 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
It was always planned for the headquarters to be placed at the Henrahan work center. Portions of the work center were constructed in the late 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps with funding from President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.