National Geographic : 2012 Dec
39°N 38° 37° 36° 118° W 119° N Giant Forest E Elevation cross section W YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK CALAVERAS BIG TREES STATE PARK CALIFORNIA NEVADA TULE RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION Reno Bishop Fresno 296 ft 90m S IER R A NEVADA Placer County Grove Mount Whitney 14,494 ft 4,418 m Lake Tahoe Kings Mono Lake Giant sequoia grove 0mi 10 0km 10 W E Mount Whitney 14,494 ft WETTER DRIER 8,000 ft 4,000 Elevation range of giant sequoias Elevation cross section AREA ENLARGED CALIFORNIA General Sherman President To Big Stump entrance 28 miles To Ash Mountain entrance 13 miles GENERALS HIGHWAY Named tree or group 0mi 0.5 0km 0.5 SEQUOIA SWEET SPOT Conditions that suit the tree's growth and reproduction exist in a narrow elevation range. The Sierra's eastern slope is too dry for sequoias, which need rain and the deep moisture of heavy snowmelt. Where the Giants Grow A slender, 250-mile-long corridor on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada is the giant sequoia's only natural habitat. No tree surpasses it in volume of wood. Fortunately, logging proved impractical, and in 1890 many of the titans gained protection with the creation of Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks. NORTHERN LIMIT Only six giant sequoias form this isolated old- growth grove. GROVE DISTRIBUTION All but 8 of the 67 identified sequoia groves lie south of the Kings River. These southern groves usually hold more---and larger---trees. SEQUOIA MYSTERY Scientists remain uncertain why the northern stretch of the range supports only a few scattered groves. CATHEDRAL OF TREES The Giant Forest, a grove in Sequoia National Park, protects 41 named sequoias and sequoia groups, including the President and, measuring only slightly bigger, Earth's most massive tree, the General Sherman.