The unparalleled wilderness experience and beauty of the John Muir Trail has been highly sought out for many years. In recent decades, it has seen an immense increase in visitation, resulting in the disturbance and deterioration of wilderness and habitat quality across the region. Moreover, the extreme impacts of a changing climate compound the stress on alpine ecosystems. There is no question that there is an urgent need for ecological restoration and long-term environmental management across this sensitive region.
The JMT Wilderness Conservancy prioritizes the restoration of these environmentally sensitive alpine regions by working closely with government agencies, academic institutions, and ecological specialists. In 2020, we launched landscape-level ecological surveys to determine the most effective strategies for long-term restoration success. See our achievements in the ArcGIS StoryMap below.
In 2021, we started with the first year of a $1.6 million dollar, four-year, ecological restoration project in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. This work included extensive work on: 1. impacted alpine meadows; 2. illegal campsites; 3. degrading lake and river banks; 4. disrupted ephemeral watershed; 5. degraded “social” trails; and 6. natural and cultural resource surveys. This ongoing effort will create a resilient habitat that can withstand annual temperature increases and fluctuating snowpack, provide reliable habitat for sensitive species, and allow for sustainable recreation for generations to come.
Last year, we also started the groundwork for an estimated $1.8 million-dollar ecological restoration project in Kings Canyon National Park. This included a meadow impact study on four high-priority wetland meadows in Evolution Valley. The results of this study will inform our restoration strategy of the fens, a type of rare alpine meadow, that lie adjacent to Evolution, McClure, Colby, and Upper Colby Meadows. In the summer of 2021, we completed the archeological and biological surveys for the substantial restoration of the impacted habitat at the Evolution Creek crossing and Wanda Lake Outlet. Our teams identified the damaged habitat along the JMT to streamline restoration work that is planned to start in the summer of 2022.
Scroll through this interactive StoryMap showcasing our Wilderness Restoration Project in the Inyo National Forest: