|Golden Trout Wilderness|
|Location||Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Tulare County / Inyo County, California, United States|
|Nearest city||Porterville, California|
|Area||303,511 acres (1,228.3 km2)|
|Governing body||USDA / U.S. Forest Service|
The Golden Trout Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada, in Tulare County and Inyo County, California. It is located 40 miles (64 km) east of Porterville, California within Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Forest.
It is 303,511 acres (1,228.3 km2) in size and was created by the US Congress in 1978 as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The wilderness is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
The wilderness is named for and protects the habitat of California's state freshwater fish, the golden trout.
Elevations range from about 680 feet (210 m) to 12,900 feet (3,900 m).
Within the wilderness are portions of the Kern Plateau, the Great Western Divide's southern extension, and the main stem of the Kern River, the South Fork of the Kern and the Little Kern River.
The wilderness area is bordered on the northeast and northwest by the high peaks of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Cirque Peak is the high point at 12,894 feet (3,930 m).
The Kern Plateau is a large tableland with sprawling meadows, narrow grasslands along streams, and forested ridges and flats. The centerpiece of the plateau is Kern Peak (11,443 ft) which has far-reaching vistas of the middle and upper Kern River drainage and much of the far southern Sierra, including Olancha Peak, the southern Kaweah Range, the mountains of the Mineral King area, and the Dome Land Wilderness of the far southern Sierra.
Located in both Sequoia and Inyo national forests, this 500,000-acre (2,000 km2) plateau had been the center of a battle between preservationists and multiple-use advocates. Before 1947, there was little incentive to develop the area, but that changed with the Secretary of Agriculture's plan to manage the area along multiple-use guidelines due to its proximity to population centers. In addition, there was an epidemic of insect damage in the commercial timber, which was estimated at 30 million board feet. A growing market for lumber added more pressure to develop the area and in 1956, a multiple-use management plan was completed that included a timber sale on the plateau.
Wilderness advocates wanted to preserve the plateau, and opposed the Forest Service plan at public meetings. But, because no new facts were presented, the Forest Service went ahead with the timber sale which included building an access road. The sale contract contained special provisions to assure that the timber operators recognized them as they logged. A second road was constructed despite strong opposition from the Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and the Kern Plateau Association.
The Kern Plateau controversy in the 1950s deepened the chasm between the Forest Service and wilderness proponents. According to former Regional Forester Doug Leisz, "The Kern Plateau use controversy was the beginning of the preservationists vs. use fight which has since touched public lands over the entire country," although an argument can be made that the battle over the Hetch Hetchy Valley with John Muir was the beginning.
Wildlife includes the large Monache deer herd, the sensitive Sierra Nevada red fox, pine martens, cougars, and black bears.
The golden trout is California's state fish.The golden trout is closely related to two other rainbow trout subspecies found in this wilderness. The Little Kern golden trout (O. m. whitei), found in the Little Kern River basin, and the Kern River rainbow trout (O. m. gilberti), found in the Kern River system. Together, these three trout form what is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Trout Complex". The Little Kern golden trout is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Recreational activities include backpacking, horseback riding, swimming, day hiking, fishing, hunting, rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, snowshoeing and Off-roading.
There are 379 miles (610 km) of trail including the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which stays above 10,000 feet (3,000 m) elevation for most of the 25-mile (40 km) route through the Golden Trout Wilderness. There are historical sites such as the Tunnel Meadow and Casa Vieja guard stations, and the 12-mile trail to Jordan Hot Springs along Ninemile Creek. The trail was built in 1861 by John Jordan for access to Olancha from Visalia. Past volcanic activity created the hot springs as well as Groundhog Cone and the Golden Trout Volcanic Field.
Permits are required for all overnight use and there is a quota in effect for the Cottonwood Pass Trailhead.
Other restrictions include a ban on wood-fueled fires along the PCT between Cottonwood Pass to the Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness and also at the Rocky Basin Lake area.
The Ansel Adams Wilderness is a wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada of California, United States. The wilderness spans 231,533 acres (93,698 ha); 33.9% of the territory lies in the Inyo National Forest, 65.8% is in the Sierra National Forest, and the remaining 0.3% covers nearly all of Devils Postpile National Monument. Yosemite National Park lies to the north and northwest, while the John Muir Wilderness lies to the south.
Sequoia National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California. The park was established on September 25, 1890, to protect 404,064 acres of forested mountainous terrain. Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m), the park contains the highest point in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) above sea level. The park is south of, and contiguous with, Kings Canyon National Park; both parks are administered by the National Park Service together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. UNESCO designated the areas as Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976.
The John Muir Wilderness is a wilderness area that extends along the crest of the Sierra Nevada of California for 90 miles (140 km), in the Inyo and Sierra National Forests. Established in 1964 by the Wilderness Act and named for naturalist John Muir, it contains 581,000 acres (2,350 km2). The wilderness lies along the eastern escarpment of the Sierra from near Mammoth Lakes and Devils Postpile National Monument in the north, to Cottonwood Pass near Mount Whitney in the south. The wilderness area also spans the Sierra crest north of Kings Canyon National Park, and extends on the west side of the park down to the Monarch Wilderness.
The Kern River, originally Rio de San Felipe, later La Porciuncula, is a Wild and Scenic river in the U.S. state of California, approximately 165 miles (270 km) long. It drains an area of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains northeast of Bakersfield. Fed by snowmelt near Mount Whitney, the river passes through scenic canyons in the mountains and is a popular destination for whitewater rafting and kayaking. It is the southernmost major river system in the Sierra Nevada, and is the only major river in the Sierra that drains in a southerly direction.
Sierra National Forest is a U.S. National Forest located on the western slope of central Sierra Nevada in Central California and bounded on the northwest by Yosemite National Park and the south by Kings Canyon National Park. The forest is known for its mountain scenery and beautiful lakes. Forest headquarters are located in Clovis, California. There are local ranger district offices in North Fork and Prather.
The Brigit, also known as the Californiangolden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita or Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita), is a species of trout native to California. The golden trout is normally found in the Golden Trout Creek, Volcano Creek, and the South Fork Kern River. The Golden trout is the official freshwater state fish of California since 1947.
Sequoia National Forest is located in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The U.S. National Forest is named for the majestic Giant Sequoia trees which populate 38 distinct groves within the boundaries of the forest.
Inyo National Forest is a United States National Forest covering parts of the eastern Sierra Nevada of California and the White Mountains of California and Nevada. The forest hosts several superlatives, including Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States; Boundary Peak, highest point in Nevada; and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest that protects the oldest trees in the world. The forest, encompassing much of Owens Valley, was established by Theodore Roosevelt as a way of sectioning off land to accommodate the Los Angeles Aqueduct project in 1907, making the Inyo National Forest one of the least wooded forests in the United States' system.
Tahoe National Forest is a United States National Forest located in California, northwest of Lake Tahoe. It includes the 8,587-foot (2,617 m) peak of Sierra Buttes, near Sierra City, which has views of Mount Lassen and Mount Shasta. It is located in parts of six counties: Sierra, Placer, Nevada, Yuba, Plumas and El Dorado. The forest has a total area of 871,495 acres. Its headquarters is in Nevada City, California. There are local ranger district offices in Camptonville, Foresthill, Sierraville and Truckee.
Florence Peak is a mountain located on the Great Western Divide, a sub-range of the southern Sierra Nevada of California. It is located about 6 miles (9.7 km) southeast of the community of Silver City and 4.5 miles (7.2 km) from the roads end at Mineral King. It marks the southern boundary of Sequoia National Park. On the summit the Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness, the John Krebs Wilderness and Golden Trout Wilderness meet.
The South Fork Kern River is a tributary of the Kern River in the Sierra Nevada of the U.S. state of California. It is one of the southernmost rivers on the western slope of the mountains, and drains a high, relatively dry plateau country of 982 square miles (2,540 km2) along the Sierra Crest. The upper South Fork flows through a series of rugged canyons, but it also drains a flat, marshy valley before joining the Kern River at Lake Isabella.
The Kiavah Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area located in the Mojave Desert, Scodie Mountains, and southern Sierra Nevada in Kern County, California, United States. California State Route 178 connects the town of Lake Isabella to State Highway 14 in the east, crossing Walker Pass at the north boundary of the wilderness.
The Domeland Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area located 55 miles (89 km) northeast of Bakersfield, California USA. It encompasses 130,081 acres (526.42 km2), is jointly managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is mostly within the Sequoia National Forest.
The South Sierra Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Southern Sierra Nevada, in eastern California. It is located 65 miles (105 km) northeast of Bakersfield, and is southwest of Owens Lake and Olancha.
The Silver Knapsack Trail is a 36.2-mile (58.3 km) trail located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, near Johnsondale, Springville, and Three Rivers, California. It is located in Sequoia National Forest and the southernmost part of Sequoia National Park. Much of the trail lies within the Golden Trout Wilderness.
The Little Kern River is a 24.4 miles (39.3 km) long major tributary of the upper Kern River in the Sequoia National Forest, in the southern Sierra Nevada, California. It is one of three streams, along with Volcano Creek and Golden Trout Creek, that harbor beautiful golden trout.
Golden Trout Creek is an approximately 9-mile (14 km) long tributary of the Kern River, flowing in northeastern Tulare County, California.
The protected areas of the Sierra Nevada, a major mountain range located in the U.S. states of California and Nevada, are numerous and highly diverse. Like the mountain range itself, these areas span hundreds of miles along the length of the range, and over 14,000 feet of elevation from the lowest foothills to the summit of Mount Whitney.
Cirque Peak is a 12,900-foot-elevation (3,932 meter) mountain summit located on the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. It is situated on the common border of Tulare County with Inyo County, as well as the shared boundary of Golden Trout Wilderness and John Muir Wilderness, on land managed by Inyo National Forest. It is 14 miles (23 km) southwest of the community of Lone Pine, 7.7 miles (12.3 km) south-southeast of Mount Whitney, and 3.2 miles (5.2 km) south of Mount Langley, the nearest higher neighbor. Cirque Peak is the highest point of the Golden Trout Wilderness, and ranks as the 175th highest peak in California. Topographic relief is significant as it rises 1,800 feet (550 meters) above Cirque Lake in approximately one mile. The Pacific Crest Trail traverses the southwest slope of this mountain, providing an approach option. The mountain was apparently named in 1890 by Joseph Nisbet LeConte and companions who noted the remarkable cirque on the north aspect.
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