Yellowstone National Park is seeking public comment on a plan to rehabilitate many of the overlooks and trails along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River in the central section of the park. This project would address aging and deteriorating infrastructure, provide better accessibility to visitors, address safety issues in the area, and improve the visitor experience, all while retaining the historic integrity of the district.
The project would rehabilitate a number of existing overlooks and trails situated along both the north and south rims of the canyon. Areas to be rehabilitated include: Uncle Tom’s overlooks and trails, Sunset Point overlook and trail, the Brink of the Upper Falls overlooks and trails, Crystal Falls overlook and trail, the Brink of the Lower Falls overlook and trail, Red Rock Point overlook and trail, Inspiration Point overlook and trail, and portions of the North and South Rim Trails. Parking areas at the Brink of the Upper Falls and the Uncle Tom’s area would be reconfigured slightly to increase parking and pedestrian circulation efficiency and parking capacity. In particular, walking surfaces are uneven and erosion has undermined asphalt pavement and created many potholes on the trails. Log rails on many of the bridges and along the trails have rotted and need to be replaced. Gravel and debris on steep sections of asphalt make descending some trail sections difficult. Many of the parking areas and overlooks were rehabilitated in 2008 including Artist’s Point, and this project would carry on this effort for the remaining areas located along the canyon rim.
The Environmental Assessment (EA) and an electronic form to submit comments (preferred method for commenting) can be found on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website. To request a hard copy of the EA, call 307-344-2017. Comments may also be hand-delivered, or mailed to: Compliance Office, Attention: Canyon Rim Overlooks and Trails Rehabilitation EA, National Park Service, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190. Comments will not be accepted by fax, e-mail, or in any manner other than those specified above. Bulk comments submitted in any format on behalf of others will not be accepted. The deadline to submit comments is midnight MDT September 16, 2015.
Once comments are analyzed, a decision on whether to implement the plan will be made by the Regional Director of the Intermountain Region of the NPS. If approved, the project would begin in 2016.