Shepherd of the Sequoias
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It’s all about the trunk

Shepherd of the Sequoias: Martin Litton flies his private plane over the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The conservationist is upset about logging among the monument’s sequoia groves. (Ricardo DeAratanha / LAT)
Aerial panorama: The Giant Sequoia National Monument, as seen from the air. The 328,000-acre monument was created in 2000 by President Clinton to protect about three dozen sequoia groves in the Sequoia National Forest on the slopes east of Bakersfield. (Ricardo DeAratanha / LAT)
A living cause: The U.S. Forest Service, which manages the Giant Sequoia National Monument, where more than half the world’s giant sequoias grow in copper-hued splendor, scattered in clusters amid fir and tall pine on mountain slopes east of Bakersfield. (Ricardo DeAratanha / LAT)
Unmarked forest roads: The U.S. Forest Service continued to cut trees and plan big logging operations it claims are necessary to eliminate hazards or improve the health of the groves. (Ricardo DeAratanha / LAT)
Perspective: Ara Marderosian stands under a giant sequoia in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. (Ricardo DeAratanha / LAT)
It’s all about trunk: Sequoias can measure 100 feet around at their base and tower 20 stories or more above the western slopes of the Sierra, the only place in the world they grow. (Ricardo DeAratanha / LAT)
Giant sequoias: Wrapped in thick layers of paper-soft bark, they are so outsized they can look like cartoon trees, muscle-bound and broccoli-topped. (Ricardo DeAratanha / LAT)
Historic Trees: Activist Ara Marderosian counts the rings of a 230-year-old sugar pine at Sequoia National Monument. (Ricardo DeAratanha / LAT)
Sight to behold: Dramatic pink clouds crawl across the sky after sunset at Giant Sequoia National Monument. (Ricardo DeAratanha / LAT)
Under the stars: Last summer, the Forest Service widened and graded an old hiking and bridle path that runs through the never-logged Freeman Creek Grove, the most pristine of the monument’s sequoia stands. The agency said it was bringing a hard-to-follow trail back to life. (Ricardo DeAratanha / LAT)