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Mineral King and the Environment Part II

“As preservationists, we should be the stewards and curators of the environment, built and natural. And we should regard the two as a single, integrated, indivisible whole."

Robert Campbell, Contributing Editor Preservation magazine.

The Mineral King Community's Influence on the GMP Environmental Impact Statement

Questions and Answers

Are the Mineral King Historic Living Community and the natural environment in conflict with each other?

Not at all. The British always have used the term "conservation" as an all-encompassing term which includes a concern for the human built environment as part of the natural environment. Mineral King is a prime example of this oneness. It’s high mountain ecosystem has supported aboriginal and historic man for over three thousand years as just one of dozens of animal species living within and utilizing the surrounding environment. People, whether miners, recreationists, summer residents or government employees, have been a part of the natural/cultural environment of the Mineral King Valley for generations. Responsible usage of that environment is the key to our survival.

How does the Mineral King Historic Living Community Demonstrate such responsible usage?

The Mineral King Community has demonstrated responsible usage of the natural environment for decades. Blending its structures into the surroundings, maintaining, fostering and protecting the natural elements, its people have lived with minimal impact as residents of the environment for over 100 years. "Carefully situated among the native vegetation these cabins present the same hearty ambiance today that visitors to the area in the 1930s experienced…", Thomas E. Nave, Consulting Historian to the National Park Service, has written in the recent Supplement to Determination of Eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places. "These rustic cabins with their weathered siding and battered roofs blend into the rugged landscape and natural vegetation of this high, subalpine valley." In forwarding this document to the Washington D.C. offices of the National Register, the National Park Service has recognized the Mineral King community is an integral part of the natural landscape.

How may Mineral King be affected by the Environmental Impact Statement of Sequoia's General Management Plan?

Not only will the EIS affect decisions regarding the future of the Mineral King Historic Living Community. The community’s very presence will affect the EIS and all plans for the valley’s environmental future. If the GMP separates preservation from conservation, and if the EIS defines the community as apart rather than as part of the natural environment, then its very existence may be seen as a threat. With recommendations for the stable, long-term community’s removal, unstable short-term usage by transient recreationists would become the new hallmark of human usage. If, on the other hand, the low-impact community is viewed as an integral, contributing and responsible part of the natural environment its removal would be considered a threat to the evolving ecosystem.

How many the Environmental Impact Statement be affected by the Mineral King Community?

Demonstration of the community’s place as an integral part of the valley’s evolving ecosystem will help determine the scope of all EIS reports. The community’s continuing care, protection and maintenance of all resources; its low impact and lack of disruption of soil, natural growth and wildlife; it’s care of the valley’s fragile wetlands; limited burning practices and responsible automobile usage; environmentally sound usage of water resources and careful waste management; the protection and renewal of environmentally sensitive plants, scenic resources and wildlife; stewardship and maintenance of heritage resources including historic sites, structures and residential activities; its interest in and capability for educating and monitoring valley visitors on ecologically sound usage of the valley; all must be considered in the EIS reports. Beyond such demonstrations of the Mineral King Historic Living Community’s importance in the environment, continuing in-put by individuals who are a part of that environment makes a difference. Your comments will have an effect on the results of the EIS.

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