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Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?

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avatar Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 27, 2020 07:41AM
So disappointed. Beyond really.

Why? (no answer will make it "ok" btw)



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 27, 2020 09:37AM
Wait, what? I did't see any news about this.
avatar Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 27, 2020 10:14AM
JKW found this:

https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=88097

And we did go talk to people in the Visitor Center.

(they know way more than what we were expecting... so huge kudos there)

So we kind of knew the answer. Just seems this got steamrolled by everyone.

Anyway, personally I'm pissed.

So just cut any Sequoia that was planted? Cut the other 30+ in the valley down?
Cut the ones behind Wawona Hotel? Ones by Yose Institute by Tuol Grove?

Just sad



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 27, 2020 11:12AM
While I love sequoias as much as the next person here, I think the logic they used to justify the removal is fairly unassailable:

They are not native to the valley and have attained a size that is out of character with adjacent black oaks, which typically grow in or near meadows in Yosemite Valley. The sequoia trees negatively impact the ecosystem though altering water availability and shading native vegetation. Because sequoias require tremendous amounts of water, their surface roots compete for the water which alters native vegetation assemblages in the area. The non-native sequoias presently shade black oak trees and other native vegetation, resulting in competition for light resources. This shading suppresses black oak tree dispersal and growth, and results in less healthy groves of these culturally significant trees. Removal of the sequoias trees will help ensure that the setting of the meadow is restored to its historic appearance, natural hydrologic condition and native vegetation assemblage.

That said, managing any national park is a delicate dance between preserving (or restoring) natural habitat, and augmenting that habitat for the enjoyment of people. In this case, the sequoias clearly provided valley visitors with a good deal of "value", and I think that you could argue pretty effectively that they shouldn't be cut down--especially since they're no more an affront to the natural ecosystem than pretty much any other man-made development in the valley.

Anyway, chick-on, I get your disappointment, but I'm not sure I can share your anger.
Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 27, 2020 09:56PM
Quote
abetterpitchfork

Anyway, chick-on, I get your disappointment, but I'm not sure I can share your anger.

I think abetterpitchfork said it really well. The only thing that I would have to add is that if you are doing a restoration project, and that is your justification, you open yourself up to some strong criticism if you don't also remove sentimental trees that are otherwise against your stated goals. It's like you are arbitrarily picking and choosing winners & losers. Not only for this project but future ones too.
Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 27, 2020 11:28AM
From what I can tell this sub-part of the Merced River Plan was open for comment for only the week of 05/21/2019 - 05/28/2019, and there were no meetings or other materials. I'm wondering if anyone got any notifications about this. I suspect 1 week is the minimum allowable comment period, and no attempt was made to gather any public comment beyond whatever bare minimum notification is legally required.

I'm all in favor of the removal of the unused Ahwahnee Tennis Courts--and was thinking that with the ugly chain link fence gone, it would be nice to sit under the small grove of Sequoias that were next to them.

And, while I'm generally in favor of restoring Yosemite to a more natural condition, I think in this case the park service has gone too far in trying to achieve an unattainable level of purity or perfection at the expense of common sense. The oak woodland they are trying to preserve is possibly no more natural than these Sequoias were; it's well-known that the Native Americans who lived in the valley did extensive meadow burning to encourage oak production. It's doubtful that anyone really knows what the pre-human natural condition for the valley was. It's also doubtful if this ideal natural condition can even be achieved without addressing several changes made to the valley that are much more of an impact on hydrology than 7-8 Sequoias ever will be, such as the nearby bridges that constrict the river and route it away from the area in question in high water, or the historic blasting of the El Cap moraine that lowered the valley water level.
Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 27, 2020 12:31PM
Quote
basilbop
...or the historic blasting of the El Cap moraine that lowered the valley water level.

Every time I hear about "restoring Yosemite Valley to it's original beauty" I think of this specific event. I haven't found anything other than brief references to it, and cannot claim detailed knowledge of the extent of the changes it spawned. It strikes me from just the short description as a human-created change with impact likely on par with many (if not most) others that have occurred during the course of human visitation. Yet I hear of no one suggesting that the moraine be rebuilt (nor am I suggesting that it be).

So ultimately, whenever "restoration" is cited as a motivation or justification, it seems to me that it's actually "restoration to some (real or imagined) image of the past", not something that is well-understood, agreed-upon, or even defined. That makes it quite hard to quantify or evaluate.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2020 02:13PM by ags.
Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 27, 2020 10:04PM
Agreed. I suspect that before that moraine was blasted, Yosemite Valley flooded every spring, which would have inhibited tree growth. So while sequoias certainly aren't native to the valley, I strongly doubt that the extent of oak and conifer growth in the valley today is well beyond what it was 150 years ago. Let's also not forget the extensive drainage work done following the 1997 New Year's flood to ensure there wouldn't be a repeat under similar conditions.

I also note that the last paragraph completely misrepresents the quote brought therein. The cited passage shows that in the 1930's, the tennis courts were thought of as something that would be difficult to remove, as opposed to a golf course, which could easily be removed. Not sure if the misrepresentation was bureaucratic double-speak or just the result of poor reading comprehension.

Basilbop, how do you know when that page was posted? There's no date on it. I see that the draft agreement with the CA State Historic Preservation Officer was only open for comment May 21-29...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2020 10:14PM by Not quite The Geezer, but getting there.
Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 27, 2020 10:25PM
Quote
ags
Quote
basilbop
...or the historic blasting of the El Cap moraine that lowered the valley water level.

Every time I hear about "restoring Yosemite Valley to it's original beauty" I think of this specific event. I haven't found anything other than brief references to it, and cannot claim detailed knowledge of the extent of the changes it spawned. It strikes me from just the short description as a human-created change with impact likely on par with many (if not most) others that have occurred during the course of human visitation. Yet I hear of no one suggesting that the moraine be rebuilt (nor am I suggesting that it be).

So ultimately, whenever "restoration" is cited as a motivation or justification, it seems to me that it's actually "restoration to some (real or imagined) image of the past", not something that is well-understood, agreed-upon, or even defined. That makes it quite hard to quantify or evaluate.

Two thoughts. There was extensive hydrological restoration at the Ahwahnee Meadow area. (It was odd to see heavy equipment in the meadow). The Moraine is significantly farther down the valley and I'm not sure if it would have affected the Ahwahnee Meadow.

The other: Yes, what is natural is a central question that often gets overlooked. In the Sierra a significant, if not completely known, portion of the natural landscape that was found by white settlers was the result of the native population. I thought there was a succinct version of that, (I keep thinking of Wilderness and the American Mind by Nash) but here are 2 papers that touch on that topic.

Taming the Wilderness Myth

What is natural? The importance of a long-term perspective in biodiversity conservation
and management
Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 28, 2020 08:54PM
Quote
basilbop
And, while I'm generally in favor of restoring Yosemite to a more natural condition, I think in this case the park service has gone too far in trying to achieve an unattainable level of purity or perfection at the expense of common sense. The oak woodland they are trying to preserve is possibly no more natural than these Sequoias were; it's well-known that the Native Americans who lived in the valley did extensive meadow burning to encourage oak production. It's doubtful that anyone really knows what the pre-human natural condition for the valley was. .

I take NRM classes when time permits, and restoration is a big topic. I have always had a difficult time with this idea for the reasons discussed. It seems like preserving Oak Woodlands is hip now; it's a fad. In our local state park, they spent a bunch of money girdling doug firs. Doug firs are the "bad guys" now. They take over and don't let the "native" oaks grow. Ironically much of the area where they did all this work burned in the 2017 fires.

Another example is the marshlands around highway 37, where they removed the levees and dikes to restore the native marshlands. I have been there twice. The two times I have been there besides us (students), the other people present are the Sonoma/Marin Mosquito and Vector Control District. Yep, killing mosquitoes is okay, but building levees is not.

It's a bit like religion. People pick and choose the parts they want.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/28/2020 08:56PM by recycling1991.
avatar Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 28, 2020 06:45AM
I thought perhaps there would be an outcry. Once again I am wrong.

Insult to injury:


I can take solace they didn't think the other surviving 28 around the Ahwahnee needed to be cut down too I guess.

When something feels so wrong. I just think it has to be. But that's me.

Goodbye dear friends. You will be missed. I doubt many even knew of you.





Peace

co



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 30, 2020 12:36PM
Mr. chick-on, I too was very saddened by the murdering of said Sequoia trees. I had enjoyed their beauty for many years, and while bicycling about the Valley I would always stop by to admire them and pay them a visit. I somewhat understand the NPS logic for removing them, but also support the position put forth by several here as to what exactly is the definition of 'natural' in the history of Yosemite Valley? I could perhaps understand if they had been planted in the past 10 or 20 years, but for tall, majestic trees that were almost 100 years old, just leave them be and allow them to be 'grandfathered' in as something historically significant (much like Lamon's apple trees). sad smiley
avatar Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
February 02, 2020 08:47AM
Quote
PineCone
Mr. chick-on, I too was very saddened by the murdering of said Sequoia trees. I had enjoyed their beauty for many years, and while bicycling about the Valley I would always stop by to admire them and pay them a visit. I somewhat understand the NPS logic for removing them, but also support the position put forth by several here as to what exactly is the definition of 'natural' in the history of Yosemite Valley? I could perhaps understand if they had been planted in the past 10 or 20 years, but for tall, majestic trees that were almost 100 years old, just leave them be and allow them to be 'grandfathered' in as something historically significant (much like Lamon's apple trees). sad smiley

Thank you



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
January 28, 2020 09:19PM
The book Wild Ones by Jon Mooallem has some interesting perspective on what conservation means, and what point we should try to restore to. It's mostly about animals but it applies equally well to land.
avatar Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
February 01, 2020 06:35PM
OMG! What a sad thing to learn. The reasoning seems bit ridiculous, at best.
Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
February 01, 2020 08:44PM
So by the logic of NPS, is the Sugar Maple across from the chapel the next to go? After all, it's also not native to the valley.
avatar Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
February 02, 2020 08:48AM
Quote
Pohono
So by the logic of NPS, is the Sugar Maple across from the chapel the next to go? After all, it's also not native to the valley.

And the Sequoia next to the chapel....



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
February 02, 2020 11:13AM
Hopefully, the Sequoia in front of the museum is safe, in spite of the nearby oaks.
Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
February 04, 2020 09:46AM
It seems that if the non-native Ahwahnee can stay, the trees could stay too
Re: Why would Yosemite cut down 7 Sequoias?!?
February 08, 2020 09:37PM
That is so sad.
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