Project Description

JMT WILDERNESS RESTORATION PROGRAM

OBJECTIVE: With the WRP, the Foundation hopes to repair a harmful human footprint, and implement adaptive strategies to combat the effects of climate change, in order to assure the natural processes for the long-term health of the JMT’s watershed, habitat, forests and streams, and the wildlife they sustain.

JMT WILDERNESS RESTORATION PROGRAM

OBJECTIVE: With the WRP, the Foundation hopes to repair a harmful human footprint, and implement adaptive strategies to combat the effects of climate change, in order to assure the natural processes for the long-term health of the JMT’s watershed, habitat, forests and streams, and the wildlife they sustain.

Protecting wilderness, its natural processes, and the renewable source of clean water for millions of downstream users, is inextricably linked to the management and rehabilitation of highly-used wilderness destinations. The John Muir Trail and its interconnecting trail network is that wilderness. Approximately 220 miles long and 20 miles wide, it covers roughly 2,800,000 acres of land. It encompasses the heart of the Sierra Nevada snowpack that serves 25 million people in their communities and businesses, the immense agriculture and stock production of the Central Valley, and the habitat for most of California’s vertebrate species. The protection and restoration of the JMT wilderness ecosystem is essential to the health and well-being of so much.

The JMT has been on the bucket list of so many people for generations now. In recent decades it has seen a rising tidal wave of demand that has resulted in harm to the wilderness and habitat across the region. Entry points in Yosemite and at the Mt. Whitney Portal have operated at maximum capacity for decades with a 95% denial in the lottery for permit reservations. More than 10 lateral access trails across the Sierra are now subject to daily quota limits, while others are left open to all comers. Patrols and enforcement are problematic—JMT backcountry rangers have consistently decreased in number over time as federal funding has declined and priorities have changed. And like so many places on the planet, the impacts of a changing climate compound the stress on wilderness. The result is an urgent need for wilderness and habitat restoration, and long-term environmental management across this critical region.

The Foundation is rolling out a wilderness restoration program across the John Muir Trail region. Starting with several 10 to 15-mile segments of the most degraded areas, the effort will repair a harmful human footprint and use adaptive strategies to combat the effects of climate change. We hope to assure the natural processes for the long-term health of watershed, habitat, forests and streams, and the wildlife they sustain. We are launching the WRP in the Ansel Adams Wilderness in the 2020 season.

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Protecting wilderness, its natural processes, and the renewable source of clean water for millions of downstream users, is inextricably linked to the management and rehabilitation of highly-used wilderness destinations. The John Muir Trail and its interconnecting trail network is that wilderness. Approximately 220 miles long and 20 miles wide, it covers roughly 2,800,000 acres of land. It encompasses the heart of the Sierra Nevada snowpack that serves 25 million people in their communities and businesses, the immense agriculture and stock production of the Central Valley, and the habitat for most of California’s vertebrate species. The protection and restoration of the JMT wilderness ecosystem is essential to the health and well-being of so much.

The JMT has been on the bucket list of so many people for generations now. In recent decades it has seen a rising tidal wave of demand that has resulted in harm to the wilderness and habitat across the region. Entry points in Yosemite and at the Mt. Whitney Portal have operated at maximum capacity for decades with a 95% denial in the lottery for permit reservations. More than 10 lateral access trails across the Sierra are now subject to daily quota limits, while others are left open to all comers. Patrols and enforcement are problematic—JMT backcountry rangers have consistently decreased in number over time as federal funding has declined and priorities have changed. And like so many places on the planet, the impacts of a changing climate compound the stress on wilderness. The result is an urgent need for wilderness and habitat restoration, and long-term environmental management across this critical region.

The Foundation is rolling out a wilderness restoration program across the John Muir Trail region. Starting with several 10 to 15-mile segments of the most degraded areas, the effort will repair a harmful human footprint and use adaptive strategies to combat the effects of climate change. We hope to assure the natural processes for the long-term health of watershed, habitat, forests and streams, and the wildlife they sustain. We are launching the WRP in the Ansel Adams Wilderness in the 2020 season.

VIEW ALL PROJECTS