Paying Tribute to Giants

Volunteers assembled August 24th at the Trail of 100 Giants in the Giant Sequoia National Monument to install a set of four new information boards at the Trailhead. The workday was organized by the Giant Sequoia National Monument Association and hosted by California Land Management who provided lunch for the group. Sequoia National Forest, who administers the Monument, was also on hand to help direct the project. The signs were purchased by the Giant Sequoia National Monument (GSNM), California Land Management (CLM), and Three Forests Interpretive Association. 3FIA is working in partnership with GSNMA and CLM in the effort to improve the infrastructure at the site.

Trail of 100 Giants Interpretive panel

The 1.3 mile Trail of 1000 Giants is a popular interpretive trail winding through a grove of old-growth Giant Sequoia trees, some of the biggest on Earth. The funds 3FIA is using were donated by Jane Von Bothmer to 3FIA in honor/memory of her father, Art Cowley, who along with Jerry Eoff was instrumental in the original development of the trail while both worked for the Sequoia National Forest. Without their drive and determination the project would not have been completed.

Art Cowley was inspired by the Giant Sequoias and made preserving and understanding them part of his life’s work. Cowley was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in forestry from the University of Missouri, and earned a master’s of education from the University of Arkansas. Moving to California in 1979, Cowley was able to further pursue his love for the forests. As Big Tree Coordinator for the American Forests’ California Registry of Big Trees, Art cataloged hundreds of ancient Giant Sequoias. Serving as a board chairman of 3FIA, Art worked to inform, educate, and share his understanding and awe of these giant trees. He considered planning the Trail of 100 Giants to be a major landmark of his work with the Forest Service.

Art Cowley’s life and career embodied the values we share at 3FIA in regards to appreciation for our National Forests. He understood the value of our vast public lands and believed that by studying and sharing in an understanding of the forests, people would be inspired to advocate for their protection and conservation. Standing under a soaring Giant Sequoia  and watching sunlight filter through its branches on a summer afternoon is a truly singular experience. Walking among these trees that have stood for thousands of years, it is easy to see what inspired Art Cowley.