Today, President Obama signed into law legislation authorizing the National Park Service to continue to issue permits for commercial packstock use within Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks while the agency completes a stewardship plan for park wilderness. The legislation was supported by a broad array of conservation and recreation organizations as well as businesses that help provide access to the park.
The Wilderness Society and Back Country Horsemen of America have worked closely on supporting equestrian access to the park and issued the following statement on the legislation:
“This is a great day for all Americans who enjoy wilderness. With the President’s signature, Americans are now assured that they will be able to visit Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park wilderness this summer with the aid of commercial packers.
“Horses allow Americans from all walks of life to enjoy wilderness and have been used in Sequoia-Kings Canyon for the past century. This legislation ensures that tradition will continue, and makes Sequoia-Kings Canyon more accessible for park visitors. It will help Americans experience and appreciate wilderness.
“We support the continued and sustainable use of horses within Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, including within park wilderness in areas where it existed at the time of designation, and believe that properly managed stock use is consistent with the Wilderness Act and protecting wilderness values.”
The Back Country Horsemen of America works to perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s back country and wilderness. The Wilderness Society works to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. The Wilderness Society and Back Country Horsemen of America work together to support continued use of horses in wilderness areas, consistent with preserving wilderness values; advocate for increased funding for trail maintenance; encourage proper stewardship of wilderness areas; and educate Americans about the values of wilderness.