The Sequoia Parks Foundation received a major new grant from Edison International to support habitat restoration in Sequoia National Park. The grant will help support the restoration of native vegetation in Halstead Meadow, a sensitive wetland damaged decades ago by the construction of the Generals Highway. The original Generals Highway disconnected the flow of water between upper and lower Halstead Meadow, severely impacting the rare wetlands ecosystem. Responding to this problem, the National Park Service sought and received funds to reconstruct the highway where it crosses the meadow, a project finished just this past fall. Now work can begin to restore the meadow downstream from the rebuilt crossing.
Wet Meadow Restoration – Grant Grove
The Foundation is currently raising funds in support of the NPS project to establish native plants in wet meadows of Kings Canyon National Park, which will eradicate invasive reed canarygrass from wet meadows in Kings Canyon National Park and restore the meadows with native plants.
Montane meadows and riparian wetlands are rare vegetation types in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI), occupying less than two percent of the land area. These wetlands are centers of plant and animal diversity and are important for the functioning of larger upland ecosystems. In the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park, reed canarygrass, a perennial, rhizomatous species that is not native to SEKI, has begun to invade montane meadows and riparian wetlands, where it forms dense monocultures that exclude native vegetation. Its rapid growth and highly competitive nature make it a serious threat to these systems by displacing native plant species. The replacement of native plant communities with a monoculture of reed canarygrass can cause a decrease in habitat quality and wildlife diversity.
Reed canarygrass is currently restricted to the Grant Grove area and one small population in Sugarloaf Meadow, which is also being eradicated. Eliminating these populations will be a major accomplishment and will protect all of SEKI’s highly-valued meadow ecosystems from this highly damaging species. If you would like to support the Foundation in our efforts to restore, conserve and protect Sequoia and Kings Canyon.
The Parks’ environmental education program Rangers in the Classroom was launched in 2007, and has reached more than 60,000 elementary students in Tulare and Fresno counties. The five programs are carefully designed to support State of California curriculum standards. Foundation supporters have made outreach to underserved, Central Valley youth and the creation of future Park stewards a reality! To learn more, watch our video. If you would like to support the Foundation in our efforts to restore, conserve and protect Sequoia and Kings Canyon, click here to donate online,.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Search and Rescue (SAR) Team responds to many search and rescue incidents every year, most for missing and overdue hikers. The team is a highly dedicated search, rescue and medical professional group, with specialized skills in swiftwater river rescue, high-angle technical rescue, cave rescue, and high-altitude mountain rescue. A full-scale search can require multiple services of a management team and field personnel, including ground searchers, trackers, SCUBA divers, helicopters, horses, and search dogs.
Your donations to the Search and Rescue Fund support extensive training, purchase of specialized equipment, and rescue prevention education within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. If you would like to support the Foundation in our efforts to restore, conserve and protect Sequoia and Kings Canyon, click here to donate online.
In Kings Canyon’s Cedar Grove, a combined effort led to improved access to the Zumwalt Meadow Trail. The Gale Williams Accessibility Fund raised $20,000 that, combined with federal funding, realigned the trail and extended the boardwalk in 2008. Building on that, the Jeangerard Family Foundation donated $13,000 to level and resurface the trail, opening the entire loop to wheelchairs.
An expansion of the Zumwalt Meadow Trail called the “Valley Floor” project would extend that work almost a mile eastward to Road’s End—giving countless numbers of visitors more intimate and meaningful meadow and river experiences and increase the ease in which visitors with diverse and limited mobility access wilderness. If you would like to support the Foundation in our efforts to restore, conserve and protect Sequoia and Kings Canyon, click here to donate online.
Sierra Arts Initiative
The partnership between the Sequoia Parks Foundation and the fine arts community seeks to develop new ways of communicating the value of the parks to the public. Through these programs the Foundation hopes to facilitate the creation of new bodies of art based on park landscapes and features, encourage artists to involve themselves in wilderness, and assist both artists and the public in rediscovering the High Sierra. The Sequoia Arts Initiative embraces the breadth of artistic expression, including not only painting but also photography, writing, audio recordings, and digital media.
Historically, iconic bighorn sheep ranged widely through the Sierra Nevada alpine, from Sonora Pass to Olancha Peak. Near the turn of the 20th century European settlement and mining in the Sierra Nevada corresponded with rapid bighorn sheep population decline and by 1995, the population dipped to a low of 100 sheep.
Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep were formally listed as an endangered species in February 2000 and in 2007 a Recovery Plan was approved. Eight of the 12 critical habitat areas essential to recovery of the species, and removing the sheep from the endangered species list, are located partially or wholly within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
No NPS funds are available to support a reintroduction and the Sequoia Parks Foundation has stepped forward to work with the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and others to help fund a multi-year recovery plan to reintroduce bighorn sheep in Big Arroyo and Laurel Creek. If you would like to support the Foundation in our efforts to restore, conserve and protect Sequoia and Kings Canyon, click here to donate online.