Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela announced the release of the Moose-Wilson Corridor Final Comprehensive Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (Final Plan/EIS) today. The Final Plan/EIS is the culmination of a planning effort that began in December of 2013 and included a great deal of time, energy, collaboration, and input by National Park Service staff, four cooperating agencies, tribal representatives, and the public. The Final Plan/EIS can be viewed at go.nps.gov/moose-wilson.
The Final Plan/EIS has been informed by numerous scientific studies and three rounds of public comment. The planning team received 34,370 correspondences during the Draft Plan/EIS public comment period from October 2015 through January 2016. These correspondences came from across the country and around the world, with all 50 states and the District of Columbia represented as well as 15 foreign countries.
Public comment on the Draft Plan/EIS was largely supportive of the National Park Service’s preferred alternative, though the planning team did hear concerns about specific elements of the preferred alternative. These concerns included visitor use management and the visitor capacity determination, logistics of the timed sequencing traffic management system, interest in a transit system, accommodations for bicycle use, and the relocation of the Death Canyon Trailhead.
The Final Plan/EIS directly addresses the public’s comments on the Draft Plan/EIS and refines the plan. While the overall analysis, structure of the alternatives, and key elements of the preferred alternative have not changed, the planning team revised and clarified the Draft Plan/EIS in response to public comment. These refinements include more design details for the traffic management system, a framework for when a transit system might be considered in the future, additional information about visitor use management and the capacity determination, and an analysis of a proposal to include bicycle climbing lanes. A summary of substantive comments and other comments that were of high importance to the public can be found in Chapter 5 of the Final Plan/EIS. The planning team developed responses to each of these concerns.
“We thank the public for their engagement with this process and for their feedback” said Superintendent David Vela. “We believe the preferred alternative as revised in response to public comment is the alternative that best fulfills the purpose and need for the plan and the mission of the National Park Service. The preferred alternative provides for the best protection of the significant natural and cultural resources of the Moose-Wilson corridor including wildlife, wetlands, and the heritage of our affiliated tribes, while also providing appropriate opportunities for park visitors to use and enjoy this special area of the park.”
The next step in the planning process is the preparation of a Record of Decision for review and approval by Intermountain Regional Director Sue Masica. The Record of Decision documents the selection of an alternative for implementation following a 30-day no-action period. Once a Record of Decision has been signed, the plan can be implemented depending on funding and staffing. Full implementation of the plan is likely to take up to a decade or more, though initial work may begin in 2017.