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October 7-8-9 2022
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From: Chris Horgan-Stewards of the Sequoia
Sent: Friday, July 2, 2021 10:08 AM
Subject: SOS- Cautiously Optimistic About Trails
Sequoia Trail News
It is going to be a warm one, although temps have moderated a bit from last week 100’s around Lake Isabella.
Please be aware that campfires are now prohibited throughout the Sequoia National Forest including in campgrounds below 5000 feet due to extreme fire danger.
The annual Fireworks display will start around 9:30 on Saturday July Third. They can be seen from anywhere around Lake Isabella.
Chamber resumes fireworks tradition July 3 at Isabella Lake | Kern Valley Sun
For a year Stewards of the Sequoia has been appealing the wrongful termination of our 17-year volunteer trail maintenance agreement with the US Forest Service. We appealed to the Forest Supervisor. We appealed to
the Regional Forester. All to no avail. Stunningly each staffer backed Ranger Watson’s decision to terminate Stewards without any evidence or accusation of wrongdoing.
This caused Stewards of the Sequoia to file 12 counts of discrimination against the Forest Service staff with the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA investigator for our case suggested that he perform
mediation to reinstate Stewards volunteer agreement with the Forest Service. This was supposed to take at most two months, but we are now in month four of mediation.
In a recent conference call, the USDA investigator pointed out that Stewards had not been accused of any wrongdoing and needed to be reinstated quickly. On that call were the head of Forest Service Civil Rights,
Assistant Regional Forester and our attorney.
The USDA investigator recently provided Stewards with a draft volunteer agreement written by the Forest Service which sadly places new restrictions and discriminatory demands on Stewards without any justification.
For example, the Forest Service wants to assign yet to be determined projects to Stewards, resulting in our being forced to close trails. Yet volunteers cannot be forced to do any project.
The USDA investigator is not pleased about this and asked Stewards to provide him with a modified volunteer agreement. We did so, as well as suggesting that our volunteers be reinstated under the more reasonable
prior existing agreement written by Ranger Watson two months prior to his wrongfully terminating Stewards.
We are cautiously optimistic the USDA will push to reinstate Stewards volunteers under a reasonable agreement to get our volunteers back working on the trails. We think the outcome of this
battle could help eliminate this kind of discrimination and protect the rights of all volunteer groups in every National Forest.
SPOTLIGHT ON LOCAL BUSINESS
4700 Lake Isabella Blvd
L&M Lumber in Lake Isabella offers a very complete line of hardware store items, household goods, fireplaces as well as tool rental and more
Support the local businesses that support keeping your trails open and tell them thanks for supporting Stewards.
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Over the years your donations helped Stewards reopen this trail along with eight others and so much more.
Yet today 90% of Stewards members have let their donations expire. Please make your donation now so we can continue our efforts to keep your trails open. Thanks
With your help Stewards of the Sequoia will continue to keep the Sequoia National Forest A Land Of Many Uses and open to all