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Aerial view of Board Camp Grove, showing the dead trees which resulted from the high severity of the Castle Fire.

Public Scoping Materials - February 2022


The National Park Service (NPS) initiated a 30-day public scoping period in February 2022 on a proposal to plant seedlings of giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) within areas which burned at high intensity and severity during the 2020 Castle Fire in Sequoia National Park.

The 2020 Castle Fire burned through 22 giant sequoia groves and burned 9.7% of the entire range of giant sequoias at high severity. Three giant sequoia groves, including Board Camp, lost a significant amount of monarch sequoia trees, inhibiting their ability to naturally regenerate without intervention.

The NPS has collected sequoia cones from Board Camp and nearby groves and was proposing to plant them in Board Camp grove as a pilot project in fall of 2022. In addition, a small number of seedlings from seed collections held by a United States Forest Service Placerville nursery would have also been planted in a select area to test for potential benefits of including drought-adapted sequoia seedlings.

The proposed action included growing sequoia seedlings from collected seed, flying in the seedlings via helicopter to the remote Board Camp Grove, and planting 12,000 sequoia seedlings in the fall, just prior to winter precipitation. Given the location, roughly seven miles off-trail in remote wilderness, watering and post-planting care was not planned. This proposed action also included monitoring seedlings for percent of survivorship the following fall. The NPS anticipated that planting would occur in October 2022 and could have occurred again in 2023.

The documents below contain information about the purpose and need for action, specific information about the proposed action, and resources of concern. These materials include a narrative description of the proposed action at the time of this public scoping period, a map showing the burn severity in the grove, the press release that was shared on February 22, 2022, the slide show that was presented in the virtual public meeting on March 1, 2022, as well as a transcript of the presentation. The virtual public meeting that was held on March 1, 2022 was recorded. A video of that recording is available on the park website at: https://www.nps.gov/seki/getinvolved/participation.htm.

Public comments on the proposed action were accepted February 22nd until midnight, March 25th, 2022 via this webpage and via mail. During this 30-day public scoping period, the NPS hosted a virtual public meeting on March 1, 2022 and heard from approximately 2,800 members of the public.

Notably, this public scoping period was on the heels of one of the most devastating fires in the known history of the parks - the KNP Complex Wildfire - and since that fire and following public scoping effort in 2022, the NPS conducted surveys and field observations in many areas that burned at high severity under both the 2020 Castle and 2021 KNP Complex Fires, including additional surveys in Board Camp Grove. Based on these field surveys, the NPS found that tree mortality was unprecedently high and natural regeneration was extremely low in many areas, relative to what the NPS has found following previous wildfires and prescribed fires. This information resulted in the NPS expanding the scope of this initial proposal to include re-establishing tree seedlings in an additional five sequoia groves and in one endangered fisher habitat corridor that were severely impacted by recent wildfires in the parks.

Due in large part to the public interest in this initial proposal and the expanded scope of the updated proposed action, the NPS decided to re-initiate public scoping which was completed in February and March 2023; information on this scoping effort is located in the "Documents" section of this website under: "Re-establish Tree Seedlings in Sequoia Groves and Adjacent Fisher Habitat, Public Scoping Information shared February 2023."
 
Comment Period: Closed        Feb 22, 2022 - Mar 25, 2022
Document Content:
Grove Fire Severity MapGrove Fire Severity Map   (100.4 KB, Image file)
Press ReleasePress Release   (447.0 KB, PDF file)
Disclaimer: Links within the above document(s) were valid as of the date published.
Note: Some of the files may be in PDF format and can be viewed using the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. You may download a free copy of Acrobat Reader from Adobe Systems.