• Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns

    National Park New Mexico

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  • Scenic Loop Road Closed

    The 9-mile scenic Loop Road (Desert Drive) is closed due to flood damage. The road will reopen as soon as repairs are done. This scenic road does not affect access to the visitor center or the cave.

  • Rattlesnake Springs Area Closed

    Rattlesnake Springs area will remain closed through the weekend (9-28-14) due to hazardous road conditions and downed trees caused by torrential rains.

  • All Camping Suspended Until Further Notice

    All camping in the park has been suspended until further notice due to flood damage on backcountry roads and trails.

Caverns Seeks Comments on Assessment to Improve Parking Lots and Walnut Canyon Road

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Date: January 30, 2007
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 The current parking lots and road are 30 to 50 years old and suffer from deteriorating pavement, outdated construction materials and erosion control structures.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?

Ice-age sloth

Bones from ice age animals like jaguars, camels, lions and giant sloths have been found in the entrance areas of some caves in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.