Sequoia National Park long has been known for its tall trees and riveting High Sierra backcountry. But more and more of what's under the park's surface is being discovered, necessitating an updating of the Cave Management Plan that applies to both Sequoia and neighboring Kings Canyon National Park.
While touring Crystal Cave long has been on the checklists of Sequoia visitors, that's not the only cave that roots beneath the giant sequoia trees. Truth be told, between them Sequoia and Kings Canyon can count more than 260 caves.
And since the parks last tweaked their Cave Management Plan, back in 1997, 75 caves have been discovered. At least one of those caves contains rooms 50 feet across, "soda straws" 6 feet in length, and ribbons of multi-colored flowstone embedded with crystals. Some of those recently found caves also contain species of insects previously unknown to science.
The purpose of revising the Cave Management Plan is to provide direction for the parks’ cave management team in working with the visiting public and researchers. This direction supports the protection and conservation of all park cave and karst resources as directed by federal law and National Park Service policy.
To help produce the revision, park officials are inviting public comments until May 15. You can email comments to SEKI_planning@nps.gov or mail them to Park Superintendent, 47050 Generals Highway, Three Rivers, CA, 93271.
Comments concerning the scope, contents, and breadth of this plan will be used to help identify significant issues for the management of caves within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Comments received by May 15th will be of most use during this initial phase of the project, however there will be future opportunities to comment on the specifics and the alternatives developed for the Cave Management Plan. Note that all comments become part of the public record.