Hikers Vs. Horses in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

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Photo: Flikr/tkd540

With their commercial use permits on hold, horse pack operators in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks aren't taking trip reservations and are nervously awaiting a May 23 hearing at which U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg will outline the next steps in a federal lawsuit filed by the High Sierra Hikers Association and dating back to 2009.

The suit accuses the National Park Service of violating the Wilderness Act of 1964 when it approved a General Management Plan and adopted permits for commercial pack and saddle stock enterprises that operate within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. It says the NPS does not designate an upper limit on horse and mule use in the parks, in which most land falls under Wilderness Act protection, and this leads to "soil erosion, degradation of wildlife habitat, bacterial contamination of water, introduction of invasive weeds, and other harm to park resources."

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