Intermountain Regional Director Sue Masica approved a Record of Decision for Grand Teton National Park’s Moose-Wilson Corridor Final Comprehensive Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (Final Plan/EIS). The Record of Decision marks completion of the planning phase of the project, which began in December 2013 and will be implemented beginning in the spring of 2017. The decision document can be viewed at go.nps.gov/moose-wilson (includes a map of the proposed changes).
The Record of Decision selects alternative C for implementation, explains the National Park Service’s decision, describes the alternatives that were considered, and discusses plans for mitigating potential environmental effects and monitoring those commitments. Alternative C was identified as the National Park Service’s preferred alternative in the Final Plan/EIS, which was released on September 2, 2016. The Record of Decision affirms the analysis of the Final Plan/EIS and maintains the key strategies and elements of the preferred alternative.
The National Park Service selected alternative C because it exemplifies the conservation legacy stories of the Muries, Rockefellers, and tribes within the corridor. Of the alternatives considered, alternative C best protects the corridor’s natural and cultural resources by limiting new development and disturbances in the corridor, reducing the existing development footprint in some areas, providing some restoration of natural hydrologic processes, and carefully managing traffic levels. New development that does occur, such as the realignment of the northernmost section of road, will ultimately reduce resource impacts in the corridor.
As a result of the relocation of the Death Canyon Trailhead the NPS preferred alternative (Alternative C) would impact hikes to Phelps Lake Overlook, the Death Canyon Patrol Cabin, as well as Static Peak Divide by adding another mile - each way - to each hike.
A major component of the plan is visitor use management which will provide park visitors with opportunities to use and enjoy this area of the park while protecting park resources and the visitors’ experience. Visitor use management will be implemented adaptively beginning in 2017, when park staff will pilot mobile queuing checkpoints and other methods of managing visitation in the corridor. The system will be incorporated into park operations over time, and the Record of Decision gives park managers the flexibility to alter the corridor’s capacity or the management tools used if conditions dictate. Strategies that could be considered within the existing plan include a permit, reservation, or transit system.
Construction work associated with the plan is dependent on funding and staffing and will be completed in phases over four or more seasons. During construction, portions of the corridor may be temporarily closed to allow for the safe operation of heavy construction equipment in the narrow corridor. A key park management goal is to maintain access to the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center and other recreation sites in the corridor throughout construction. However, access to these sites may need to be closed or limited during specific phases of construction. These activities will be communicated to the public in advance.