Wilderness Stewardship Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement
The National Park Service has completed the Wilderness Stewardship Plan / Final Environmental Impact Statement (WSP/FEIS) for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The final step was taken on May 27, 2015, with the signing of the Record of Decision (ROD) by the National Park Service's Pacific West Acting Regional Director Patty Neubacher.
The Selected Action, Alternative 2, provides a targeted approach to preserving wilderness character by focusing on those areas where conditions warrant management actions. When compared to the other alternatives, alternative 2 provides the most balanced and reasoned approach to wilderness management. Alternative 2 allows for current types and levels of use, and builds on existing management practices to protect wilderness character and the natural and cultural resources in the parks.
This Wilderness Stewardship Plan provides direction to the National Park Service (NPS) for the next 15 to 20 years as it makes decisions regarding the use and protection of the wilderness encompassed by these parks. The NPS will use the management framework established by the WSP to preserve wilderness character, to encourage and provide opportunities for public use and enjoyment of wilderness, and to improve conditions in areas where there may be unacceptable levels of impact.
The implementation of changes from current wilderness practices and restrictions—especially changes that directly affect public use—will be phased in over the next few years. Phased implementation will provide for adequate opportunities to inform the public of changes the WSP will make in public use and access in wilderness. For example, the campfire limit in the Kern River drainage is slated in the WSP to change from 10,400 ft. to 10,000 ft. For the remainder of 2015, the limit will remain at 10,400 ft. Other aspects of the WSP that will be phased in include changes in party (group) size; night stay limits at specific locations; removal of food-storage boxes; stock feed requirements; implementation of the trail classification system; and changes in commercial service procedures.
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