As mentioned in an earlier post here, Glacier Park has developed five “preliminary alternatives” for handling increased traffic and usage along Going-to-the-Sun Road. None of the choices are entirely palatable, although it’s pretty obvious they prefer alternative #5. In any event, they are asking for public comment with a June 5 deadline.
Here’s the official press release . . .
Glacier National Park is encouraging public comment regarding five preliminary alternatives that have been developed for the Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor Management Plan. These preliminary alternatives are conceptual at this time, and public comment will help in further development, modification and analysis of alternatives for the draft plan and environmental impact statement.
For many years, especially during July and August, the Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor has experienced crowding and congestion along the road and at associated pullouts and parking areas. Many of the more popular trails in the road corridor are also congested, and impacts to vegetation and wildlife are increasing. Park visitation is on the rise and trends indicate it will continue to increase in the future. Increasing visitation will add to congestion and crowding, impacts to natural resources, and stress to facility infrastructure such as parking areas and restrooms. Additionally, a recent financial analysis has indicated that the portion of the entrance fees that support the shuttle system launched in 2007 are only paying for operations and maintenance and do not support acquisition of buses.
The preliminary alternatives outline various responses that park management could take to address issues along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Alternative 1 is the no-action alternative. Alternatives 2, 3 and 4 were developed using a more traditional approach of forecasting or predicting a certain future condition of high visitation and longer visitor season. They describe alternative ways the park would respond. Alternative 5 describes a flexible management approach to allow the park to respond to an uncertain future, and changes in transportation, visitation, economics, funding and climate.
The preliminary alternatives were informed by comments and concerns received from the public during the summer of 2013, research conducted by the University of Montana and socioeconomic and transportation contractors.
The alternatives are not fully developed yet and are being shared at this time to get early public comment and response. The park has not selected a preferred alternative, nor completed the environmental analysis. The draft plan and environmental impact statement will identify a preferred alternative and analyze impacts of all alternatives, and is anticipated to be available for review and comment later this fall. Public meetings will be held at that time.
The preliminary alternatives are described in the project’s spring newsletter available at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/glac. Comments may be submitted online at this website or by mail to: Glacier National Park, Attn: GTSR Corridor Plan, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, MT, 59936. Comments are due by June 5, 2015.
For more information contact the park at 406-888-7800.