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Crews Remove Garbage From Marijuana Farms in Sequoia National Park


It can take a considerable infrastructure to operate a marijuana plantation in the foothills of Sequoia National Park. That was evidenced by the nearly three tons of garbage and almost six miles of hose that have been removed from backcountry marijuana farms in the park.

With help from the California Army National Guard and the California Air National Guard, 5,600 pounds of garbage, including 75 propane canisters and 5.8 miles of hose, were removed. Crews also cleaned up resident-camp infrastructure from 11 grow sites and nine camps that were occupied by illegal growers in 2007. Among the trash were empty containers from thousands of pounds of fertilizer, pesticides (predominantly malathion), and rodenticides that had been used in a 4.6 acre area.

Illegal marijuana cultivation in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks causes major damage to wilderness areas that were previously undeveloped and in a natural condition. It costs the National Park Service hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to fight this growing problem. Since 2001 the Park Service has eradicated more than 306,000 marijuana plants worth approximately $968,000,000 from Sequoia.

Few visitors use the areas targeted by these grow operations due to their rugged nature and inherent hazards. If you are planning to visit the foothills in Sequoia, park officials ask that you contact a visitor center for information, safety tips, and help in planning your visit.

Anyone with information about illegal activities or who would like to report suspicious activity in the national parks should call 1-888-NPS-CRIME (888-677-2746).


This article doesn't mention one of the most interesting aspects of this sad, ongoing story: The non-profit volunteer groups that provided most of the on-the-ground labor to clean up these sites. One of the most active of these groups is the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew.

These volunteer groups are a cause worthy of your support, and a blast to volunteer your own time for. We produced a story about the job of cleaning up after these plantations in the WildeBeat number 19, Restoring a Park Gone to Pot.
The WildeBeat "The audio journal about getting into the wilderness"
10-minute weekly documentaries to help you appreciate our wild public lands.
A 501c3 non-profit project of Earth Island Institute.

This has been going on for years in the Sierra Nevada Mountains...hikers have had encounters with these criminals. The drug cartel from Mexico is involved big-time!

Ah, what the liberalism of the 60's has wrought....

Someone wrote:

Ah, what the liberalism of the 60's has wrought....

It's interesting where the Park Service is putting the blame. Here's a bit of the transcript of my interview with Alexandra Picavet, the media relations officer for Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks:

There's always been a small problem in many national parks with people growing marijuana. In two thousand and one Sequoia National Park became aware that the problem was getting much larger. We were finding larger gardens, to the point where we no longer called them gardens. We started to call them farms or plantations. Part of the reason for that we think has to do with the tightening of the borders after the nine eleven incident. It made it more difficult to brings things across any borders, and it became more advantageous for those people to try to grow their marijuana here in the United States.

I won't argue that demand for the product isn't part of the problem. But it didn't really start hurting the parks until border security was tightened after September 11, 2001.
The WildeBeat "The audio journal about getting into the wilderness"
10-minute weekly documentaries to help you appreciate our wild public lands.
A 501c3 non-profit project of Earth Island Institute.

"Ah, what the liberalism of the 60's has wrought...."

This isn't about the liberalism of the 1960s. It's about prohibition and its effects. What right does the government have telling me what I can put into my body? At least when alcohol was prohibited, a constitutional amendment was passed. The federal government, in an unconstitutional power grab, outlawed marijuana long before the 1960s. The 9th and 10th amendments relegate other rights not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution to the states. The federal government has no constitutional authority to prohibit marijuana consumption.

And what have the effects of prohibition been? Millions have been imprisoned at an enormous financial and societal cost. Demand has not dropped, and a black market has sprung up to meet demand. Peripheral crimes, many violent, have proliferated under prohibition. Since the average law abiding citizen can't grow cannabis in his or her back yard, people move to public lands, again highlighting the "tragedy of the commons" and fueling a destructive and dangerous black market. All of this over a plant that is consumed in its natural state? All of this over a chemical from which no one has ever died by overdose?

Prohibition has benefited some, though. The plastics, cotton, and timber industries don't have to compete with hemp, a renewable resource that can be cultivated on marginal soil and can supply paper, clothing, and biofuel with relatively little energy input (especially when compared to corn).

End prohibition and the negative effects described in this article will evaporate overnight. Look at the effects of the repeal of the 18th Amendment for a comparison.

Perhaps the reason more is not done to stop the growing of pot on national park land is because the govt is taking action on other dangerous criminals, such a private livestock owners, cattle ranchers, pot belly pig owners, 4H kids, horse owners, I am not trying to be funny...I only wish this were a conspiracy theory.

I know that protecting our national parks is important and certain tax money should go to protect them but instead the govt has given the USDA over 100 million of our tax dollars to fund a program that will keep track of every last livestock animal in the USA...geesh, they can't keep track of illegals, drug dealers and sex offenders but they want to know where granny's egg hen is at all moments...

think I am kidding? only wish I were because if this program (NAIS is the National Animal Identification System) is not stopped I and countless others will be forced to register our premises, (like sex offenders must do) microchip our critters at our cost and file reports on every birth death and off property movement those animals make...if disease is suspected in an area, the USDA can come in and kill all animals in a 6 mile radius (140 sq miles).

why? they say it is to protect our food supply but the real reason is to give the appearance of a animal disease tracking program so big corporate ag can sell meat on the global level and say it is disease free....but they get just one lot number per groups of animals, no microchipping and very few reporting events ....

yup, sounds like you are getting the same shafting we are...let the pot growers go unchecked but the govt has to know where my horses are at all times....

see for more info on this awful program and how it will affect all who eat.

While you are right about prohibition of marijuana causing the dilemma of individuals going to extreme lengths to grow and cultivate marijuana the issue here has nothing to do with prohibition. The reason it's illegal to grow marijuana in the national forest is because it is a national forest. No one can grow anything in the national forest be it corn, tomatoes, etc. While it is true that many are moving away from growing on farm land because of a fear of the DEA or other law enforcement agency coming in and seizing their land it is still an issue of violating someone else's property. I agree fully that by legalizing marijuana the black market side would be taken completely out of the loop and hikers would not have to worry about some illegal farmer hiding in the bushes with a gun protecting his crop. Those who protect the national forest would no longer have to worry about accidentally stumbling across one of these fields and haven't their life threatened for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Prohibition has always produced more criminals than it has done away with. I also agree with your comment about the plastics, cottons, and timber industries not having to compete with hemp. Same goes for the oil and car companies as well. For the time being though, prohibition is still in effect and those growing in the national forest are not only breaking a law about growing an illegal crop they are also growing an illegal crop on national property.

Narconon Vista Bay

Growing marijuana in a national forest is a total lack of consideration, the last time I checked marijuana was actually an illegal drug, these guys had a lot of nerve to do that. It makes you think about what they are really capable of. On the other hand people don't really perceive marijuana as a dangerous drug, it is actually the most common illegal drug in US, this is ignorance in my opinion, if you are unsure about real marijuana effect you can always check a drug rehabilitation as the ultimate reference.

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