Porterville Recorder

Trail of the 100 Giants to open Friday


The Trail of the 100 Giants will be open to the public on Friday.

The popular Giant Sequoia grove will be open to the public for the first time in eight months since it was almost lost to the Windy Fire last fall. The Sequoia National Forest has confirmed the grove will be open on Friday.

Those who visit the grove will have a chance to see first hand the damage that was done to the grove along with still being able to see all the Giant Sequoias that were saved. Forest officials have stated due to management efforts that have done in recent years to clear fuels and density from the grove and the efforts of firefighte­rs last year was the grove able to be saved.

Last week, Republican Congressma­n Kevin Mccarthy led a bipartisan delegation of federal and state legislator­s that were provided a sneak peak of the Trail of the 100 Giants as they were taken on a tour of the grove by Sequoia National Forest officials. During that tour, Sequoia National Forest Fire Manage Officer Ernie Villa said a goal had been set for the grove to be open by this Friday.

Those who attended the tour included Congressma­n Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, who’s a ranking member of the Committee of Natural Resources. Republican Congressma­n David Valadao and Democratic Congressma­n Jim Costa also attended the tour.

The bipartisan delegation is looking at fast tracking legislatio­n, which could be known as the “Save Our Sequoias” legislatio­n specifical­ly aimed at preserving Giant Sequoias. Mccarthy said during the tour as far as appropriat­ions is concerned, funding could be directed at the effort as soon as this year.

Sequoia National Forest has received

about $30 million toward restoring the forest and fuel-reduction projects.

Sequoia National Forest Supervisor Teresa Benson said while the effort continues to maintain the entire forest, continuing to clear The Trail of 100 Giants of fuels and density is priority No. 1.

Those who visit The Trail of the 100 Giants will be able to see the fuels and density that are still in the grove. When they enter the grove they will also see the damage done to two iconic Giant Sequoias near the entrance.

They will be able to see the limited damage done to the iconic Bench Tree. They will also be able to see the damage done to a Giant Sequoia adjacent to the Bench Tree that threatened the Bench Tree.

That tree was made famous last year by photos showing it when it was engulfed by flames. Smoke Jumpers were able to save the tree through their heroic efforts.

Those who visit The Trail of 100 Giants will also be able to see blackened trees that survived. Those who visit The Trail of the 100 Giants also need to be aware of their surroundin­gs as the terrain along the trail may be challengin­g at times due to damage done by the Windy Fire.

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