Arches Seeking Input for Delicate Arch Trail Repair
Contact: Laura Joss, (435) 719-2201
ArchesNational Park is soliciting public comments on options for repair of the Salt Wash crossing on the trail to Delicate Arch. Recent flooding washed out the Delicate Arch trail and cut a new channel that bypasses the existing bridge.
"We're asking for suggestions from the public about options for the crossing, as well as issues to be addressed," commented Laura Joss, superintendent of the park.
The crossing serves the trail to Delicate Arch, one of the park’s most famous features and an icon of the state of Utah. Record rains during the month of October (4.67 inches, over half the park’s annual average) generated the floods that eroded a new channel and removed a section of trail, cutting off access to the existing bridge. The park has established a temporary reroute of the trail, crossing the wash on the shoulder of the Delicate Arch Viewpoint road. A short-term interim solution on the original trail is expected to be implemented this winter using wooden steps and a boardwalk across the washed out crossing.
Salt Wash is the only perennial stream in the park. The stream flows past Wolfe Ranch, a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
To develop a long-term solution for the trail crossing, the park will be developing an environmental assessment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The planning process will consider and assess the impacts of a range of alternatives for the trail.
Issues identified to date include effects on hydrologic processes, wetlands, the floodplain, historic resources, and visitor safety and experiences. The preliminary list of possible management alternatives includes filling the new breach and reconstructing the missing trail section, with or without culverts, a new bridge across the breach, and continuation of the current reroute using the Delicate Arch viewpoint road shoulder.
The scoping phase of the process will continue until December 22, 2006. After that an environmental assessment will be developed, which will be available for public review and comment.Scoping comments may be submitted over the internet at parkplanning.nps.gov, or by mail to Superintendent, ArchesNational Park, PO Box 907, Moab, UT 84532.
Did You Know?
In the late 1800s, John Wesley Wolfe, a disabled Civil War veteran, and his son, Fred, built a homestead in what is now Arches National Park. A weathered log cabin, root cellar, and corral remain as evidence of the primitive ranch they operated for more than 10 years.