Mapping The Sequoias
This map of the Sequoia and General Grant National Parks and the Sierra Forest Reserve was originally surveyed and drawn by 2nd Lieutenant M.F. Davis of the 4th Cavalry A.E.O. in 1896 and updated in 1906.
The map provides a detailed representation of the Sequoia and General Grant National Parks, as well as the Sierra Forest Reserve, as it appeared at the beginning of the 20th Century. Its intricate details capture the vast landscapes, from the intricate weave of creeks and rivers to the trails and camps that punctuate the terrain, marking human interaction with the wilderness.
The map is notable for its meticulous representation of varied topographical features. The famed giant groves, symbolizing ancient and awe-inspiring forests,are well delineated, as are the numerous logging and sheep camps. Numerous mountains and elevations are given. The inclusion of lava beds introduces a geological dimension, offering insights into the tumultuous and fiery history of the region. The interplay of trails, rivers, and camps offers a detailed snapshot of to uages of the parks and neighboring regions, suggesting routes of travel, points of settlement, and places of significance at that time.
Sequoia National Park: Established in 1890, Sequoia National Park is one of the oldest national parks in the United States. The park was designated primarily to protect the giant sequoia trees from logging. These ancient trees, some over 3,000 years old, stand as nature's towering marvels, including the famed General Sherman tree, which is often cited as the largest living tree on Earth. This preservation move came during a time of increasing awareness about the ecological and aesthetic value of the American wilderness, and Sequoia served as a pioneering effort in national park conservation.
General Grant National Park: In the same year as Sequoia's establishment, 1890, General Grant National Park was created, primarily to protect the General Grant grove of giant sequoias, which housed the eponymous General Grant tree. This park, though smaller in size compared to its Sequoia counterpart, held immense symbolic value. The General Grant tree was famously known as the "Nation's Christmas Tree" and was dedicated as a living memorial to U.S. war veterans.
Sierra Forest Reserve: Earlier, in 1891, the Forest Reserve Act was passed, giving the President the authority to establish forest reserves from timber-covered public domain lands. Consequently, the Sierra Forest Reserve was created in 1893. This move was foundational in the broader context of American forestry conservation, providing a blueprint for the management and protection of forest resources. By designating this area as a reserve, the intention was to sustainably manage its resources, thereby ensuring both conservation and resource extraction coexisted.