It can take a considerable infrastructure to operate a marijuana plantation in the foothills of Sequoia National Park. That was evidenced by the nearly three tons of garbage and almost six miles of hose that have been removed from backcountry marijuana farms in the park.
With help from the California Army National Guard and the California Air National Guard, 5,600 pounds of garbage, including 75 propane canisters and 5.8 miles of hose, were removed. Crews also cleaned up resident-camp infrastructure from 11 grow sites and nine camps that were occupied by illegal growers in 2007. Among the trash were empty containers from thousands of pounds of fertilizer, pesticides (predominantly malathion), and rodenticides that had been used in a 4.6 acre area.
Illegal marijuana cultivation in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks causes major damage to wilderness areas that were previously undeveloped and in a natural condition. It costs the National Park Service hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to fight this growing problem. Since 2001 the Park Service has eradicated more than 306,000 marijuana plants worth approximately $968,000,000 from Sequoia.
Few visitors use the areas targeted by these grow operations due to their rugged nature and inherent hazards. If you are planning to visit the foothills in Sequoia, park officials ask that you contact a visitor center for information, safety tips, and help in planning your visit.
Anyone with information about illegal activities or who would like to report suspicious activity in the national parks should call 1-888-NPS-CRIME (888-677-2746).