Glacier National Park announced yesterday the completion of the environmental analysis and review process for the Apgar Transit Center Parking Lot Expansion. The Finding of No Significant Impact, or FONSI (the decision document), was signed by the NPS Intermountain Regional Director on July 13, 2012. The National Park Service reached the decision after careful analysis of the environmental impacts associated with the project and serious consideration of public comments on the environmental assessment (EA) released in April 2012.
The park will expand the Apgar Transit Center parking lot to accommodate increased visitor use of the facility following the relocation of visitor center operations. The parking lot will be extended approximately 90 feet (27 meters) to the north and 90 feet (27 meters) to the east. The expanded parking lot will provide approximately 190-195 spaces for passenger vehicles, including 9 accessible spaces, and 21 RV or oversized vehicle spaces. The project is anticipated to occur during fall and the following spring, and is estimated to take approximately 8 weeks in total to complete.
Twelve comment letters were received during the EA review period; none were opposed to the project and eight expressed support. Additionally, because the Apgar area is traditionally significant to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the park met with a representative from the Tribal Historic Preservation Department to discuss the project and has committed to exploring future interpretive opportunities with the tribe.
Constructed in 2007 as part of the Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation (GTSR) Project, the Apgar Transit Center is a staging area for the transit system and facilitates visitor access and orientation along the GTSR during road rehabilitation. During the busy summer season, thousands of visitors may use the facility, and the parking lot is often full in July and August. In the near future, the park intends to move visitor center operations from the existing visitor contact station - a small, converted house in the center of Apgar Village - to the Apgar Transit Center as a first step toward implementing a decision from the 1999 Final General Management Plan to develop a visitor center and museum at the site. The existing transit center parking lot is too small to accommodate additional parking once visitor center operations are moved.
The FONSI is available online on the NPS planning website.
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