Sequoia Parks Conservancy’s Efforts to Save California’s Giants
As a luxury road trip specialist, All Roads North takes great care to support programs that give back to the communities and landscapes our journeys introduce clients to. As far as conservation programs go, there are few closer to our hearts than the work at Sequoia Parks Conservancy (SPC)– a non-profit organization that leads several efforts to protect California’s iconic giant sequoia trees.
All Roads North founder Sam Highley recently joined the board of Sequoia Parks Conservancy to serve in the mission to conserve this special part of the world. In the face of several challenges from devastating wildfires to extreme rainfall, an estimated 10-14% of the Sierra Nevada’s sequoias were killed in the last three years. Needless to say, SPC has had their work cut out for them as of late. Through a variety of interesting programs, the organization supports education, research, and restoration that aim to preserve Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
On a curating trip with All Roads North, you can support conservation efforts simply by exploring the magical home of the giant sequoias with our SPC partners. Here are just a few of the ongoing SPC programs we’re excited to support:
Saving the Sequoias
California’s recent serious drought, from 2012 to 2015, exacerbated by high temperatures in part due to greenhouse gas emissions, was especially severe in the southern Sierra Nevada and has resulted in 5.8 million dead trees within these two parks. In response, SPC is proposing to bolster their research efforts with seedling planting to replace what was lost. Establishing seedlings in severely burned areas would point these groves toward recovery of their pre-fire forest compositions, as they would have done naturally had they not experienced severe fires. The NPS estimates that planting may be necessary on up to roughly 1,200 acres of previously forested areas.
Several of the SPC’s programs focus on specific threatened wildlife species within sequoia habitats. For example, mountain yellow-legged tree frogs play a critical role maintaining biodiversity in these ecosystems, but they have disappeared from more than 92% of historic sites in the Sierra Nevada, with similarly large losses in the parks. Non-native trout and disease caused by amphibian chytrid fungus are the primary reasons for their decline. Some other current wildlife-centered projects include protecting black bears from human conflict and reintroducing Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep to the Sierra Nevada Crest.
Another prominent wildlife project centers around the Pacific Fisher– a small, endangered mammal that lives in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Fishers depend on old-growth forest habitat for their survival, and much of this habitat has been destroyed by wildfire over the past decade. SPC funded GPS collars to understand if fishers are living within the KNP Complex burn scar and how they are using or avoiding different areas which will help park managers prevent impacts on fishers.
Accessibility and Education
Accessibility and education are two categories that make up a sizable portion of the SPC’s work. There are more than 1,000 miles of trail in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and they don’t maintain themselves. With two million visitors exploring the parks each year, the park trail systems experience a fair amount of wear and tear. And since Sequoia and Kings Canyon is 98% wilderness, crews often have to travel to remote locations and stay there for months.
Experiences Among the Sequoias
At All Roads North, we love to partner clients with experts that are making a difference. Sequoia Parks Conservancy is the perfect example: We’ll pair you with an SPC guide to explore the heartland of the giant sequoia trees in whatever way interests you most. Embark on a backpacking trip for an epic astrophotography experience in the backcountry. Enjoy the serenity of the giant sequoias with a focus on wellness and restoration. Follow your guide to the best wildflower fields and learn about how all of the surrounding flora and fauna is connected in a delicate ecosystem. Your one-of-a-kind experience will play its role in supporting the SPC’s research and conservation efforts. To support the organization directly, you can choose the program you wish to support by donating here.
Sample Itinerary: Stunning Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks