Glacier National Park officials encourage public comment on a proposal to replace the St. Mary Entrance Station and install an aquatic invasive species (AIS) inspection station.
As part of ongoing rehabilitation of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the roadway near the St. Mary entrance will be widened to better accommodate vehicle circulation. The plan and environmental compliance for this project was completed in 2003 as part of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation. Since that time, new information concerning the entrance station has resulted in the need to take a different action than was previously described.
The St. Mary Visitor Center and Entrance Station were built in 1967-68 and reflect important elements of the park’s historic architecture. These structures were nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. Today, the entrance station poses a number of functionality issues, including incompatibility with installation of new technology, faulty wiring, leaks, and poor vehicle circulation. The park is proposing to replace the St. Mary Entrance Station in order to provide a safe and functional work environment, improve vehicle circulation, and meet accessibility standards. The new entrance station architectural design would complement the St. Mary Visitor Center.
Aquatic invasive species continue to be a serious concern. Therefore, the park is also proposing to install an AIS inspection station near the St. Mary entrance. No-native aquatic organisms can cause serious impacts to lakes and rivers, potentially affecting entire ecosystems, human health, and the local economy. To address this threat, the park began an AIS inspection program in 2010. The park’s program is part of an effort throughout the Crown of the Continent, with agencies working together to protect aquatic resources.
Construction for both of these proposals would be concurrent with the Going-to-the-Sun Road rehabilitation in the area.
The Montana State Historic Preservation Office has preliminarily concurred with the park’s determination that replacing the entrance station and installing an AIS inspection station would have an adverse effect on the St. Mary Visitor Center, but would not affect the visitor center’s eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Under the proposed action, the park would work with the Montana State Historic Preservation Office to mitigate the adverse effect.
The park believes the project could be categorically excluded and does not require the preparation of an environmental assessment. Public comment is encouraged to determine if there is any new information or additional concerns that might result in the need for additional analysis. Public comment is also encouraged on the anticipated determination of adverse effect under Section 106 of National Historic Preservation Act.
The public scoping brochure contains additional information about this project and is available on the National Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/StMaryEntrance. Comments can be posted to this webpage or mailed to Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: St. Mary Entrance Station Replacement, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, MT, 59936. Comments are due by August 21, 2015.