Caverns Seeks Comments on Assessment to Improve Parking Lots and Walnut Canyon Road
Contact: Bridget Litten, 505.785.3024
Contact: David Hayes, 303.969.2975
Carlsbad Caverns National Park superintendent John Benjamin announced today that the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Reconstruction of the Visitor Center Parking Areas and Rehabilitation of Walnut Canyon Entrance Road is available for public review and comment.
The EA, completed in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration/Central Federal Lands Highway Division, proposes to rehabilitate and reconstruct the visitor center parking lots and rehabilitate Walnut Canyon Road, the park’s entrance road. The current parking lots and road are 30 to 50 years old and suffer from deteriorating pavement, outdated construction materials and erosion control structures. In addition, parking lot runoff is contaminating the park’s groundwater, resulting in adverse impacts to Carlsbad Cavern’s ecosystem.
“This is another important step in protecting Carlsbad Cavern—this park’s prime resource,” said Benjamin. “Redoing the parking lots was one of the goals stressed in the Carlsbad Cavern Resource Protection Implementation Plan that we completed a few years ago.”
The first part of the project would reconstruct the parking lots near the visitor center and Bat Cave Draw. The reconstruction would collect, control, and treat parking lot run-off before the water is released into adjacent resources. The second project would rehabilitate and resurface the 7½-mile-long park entrance road.
The public is invited to comment on the EA during the 30-day comment period, which ends March 2, 2007. These comments will be considered in evaluating the EA and making decisions pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Comments may be sent via email to the NPS’s Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website (http://parkplanning.nps.gov/cave) or via US Mail to: Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Attn: Parking/Road Reconstruction EA, 3225 National Parks Highway, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220-5354.
The document is available at the park’s administrative office, in Carlsbad; on the PEPC website; on the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/cave/parkmgmt/planning.htm; and at the Carlsbad Municipal Library.
For additional information on the environmental assessment, please contact David Hayes at 303.969.2975. To be placed on a mailing list to receive other planning-related information, contact public affairs specialist Bridget Litten at 505.785.3024.
Did You Know?
Nearly 400,000 Brazilian (more commonly called Mexican) Free-tailed bats call Carlsbad Cavern home in the summer... and all they want to do each night is eat bugs... several tons of them!