Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor Management Planning Begins

Public scoping has begun for a multi-year planning effort to address transportation, visitor use and resource management within the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor in Glacier National Park. Several public meetings are scheduled in and around the park this summer to solicit ideas, concerns, and impressions regarding future management of the road corridor.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road spans 50 miles through the heart of the park and the corridor area includes all trails and pullouts that can be accessed from the road. This area experiences a high concentration of visitor use, particularly from the end of June to mid-August. The corridor also contains tremendous biological diversity and valued cultural resources.

Popular trails along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, such as Avalanche Lake Trail, have seen an increase in use by as much as 250% in the last 25 years. These increases are resulting in significant congestion and resource impacts on vegetation and wildlife. Additionally, a recent financial analysis indicates the park's shuttle system, implemented in 2007 to reduce construction delays during road rehabilitation, is not financially sustainable considering the future need to replace buses.

Using input from the public and ongoing wildlife and social science research, park managers seek to develop a range of management alternatives during the planning effort. The plan will utilize adaptive management strategies to provide outstanding recreation and education opportunities for visitors while ensuring protection of the park's significant natural and cultural resources.

Public open houses to discuss planning efforts with surrounding communities and visitors will be held from June through August in various locations. The following public open houses will be from 4-7 pm:

Monday, June 24
Kalispell Flathead National Forest Supervisor's Office
650 Wolfpack Way

Tuesday, June 25 
Missoula Ruby's Inn and Convention Center
4825 N. Reserve Street

Wednesday, June 26
Great Falls Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
4201 Giant Springs Road

Thursday, June 27
Waterton, Alberta Canada Bayshore Inn Resort and Spa
111 Waterton Avenue

Conversations with visitors will also be hosted throughout the park on July 19th and August 9th. For additional information about the open houses and planning efforts, visit the park's scoping newsletter available here, or contact the park at 406-888-7800.

This is the first phase of the planning effort and additional public comments will be solicited as alternatives are developed. A record of decision for the Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement is anticipated by 2016. Road rehabilitation is projected to be finished by 2017.

Public comments are encouraged and may be submitted online or by mail to:

Glacier National Park
Attn: GTSR Corridor Plan
P.O. Box 128
West Glacier, MT, 59936

Public scoping comments are due by September 6, 2013.


Jeff
Hiking Glacier National Park

2 comments:

  1. One of the best things they have done in Glacier Park is the transit system. Relieves a lot of traffic on the road. A real bonus for hikers who no longer have to hunt for a parking space to go hiking on the trails. This is a must system to keep.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anon - I agree with you. Maybe there are things they can do to improve the system. Hopefully you'll make your thoughts known to the park using the link above to comment!

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete

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