Updated Schedule for Hunting EIS
Contact: George E. Price, Superintendent, (508) 349 3785
Superintendent George Price today announced the decision to extend the timeline for completing the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Cape Cod National Seashore hunting program. The impact of this decision will maintain the status quo hunting program of the past three years since the U.S. Court ordered suspension of the hunting of pheasants in the boundary of the national park. All other aspects of the hunting program will remain the same until a new policy is enacted.
A draft EIS was released in April, public meetings were held in early June, and the public comment period closed on June 19. The seashore had hoped to complete the EIS process and have a final decision in place for the upcoming 2006 fall hunting season, which starts in October. However, in view of the numerous substantive comments received from the public, the Seashore has determined that more time will be needed to fully evaluate and respond to comments on the draft. Superintendent Price said, “We asked for the public to help us develop a quality EIS by giving the draft a rigorous review. Our call for help was answered, and we got comments from over 200 individuals and organizations – from those who oppose hunting and from those who wish hunting to continue. Much of the input we received was substantive, astute, and raised questions that are important to answer. While we are all eager to wrap up the process, we would be doing a disservice to the public and the park if we rushed to produce a final document without careful and deliberate consideration of all the input we received.” The updated schedule aims for release of a Final EIS in early January 2007, and a Record of Decision (ROD) 30 days later in early February.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the hunting program at Cape Cod National Seashore described and analyzed the environmental impacts of three alternative approaches for managing hunting at the seashore. These alternatives include a no action alternative that would continue the previous hunting program and the pheasant stocking program, an alternative that would eliminate the hunting program, and a preferred alternative that would modify the current hunting program. These modifications were derived from the input received during public scoping, and would retain hunting as part of Cape Cod's cultural heritage while addressing concerns raised by non-hunting visitors.
For further information, please contact the Superintendent, Cape Cod National Seashore, 99 Marconi Site Road, Wellfleet, Massachusetts, 02667. Telephone: (508) 349-3785, Fax: (508) 349-9052.