Environmental Assessment for Construction of New Trails in Savage River Area of Denali National Park and Preserve Available for Public Comment
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
An Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluating a proposal to construct new trails in the Savage River Area of Denali National Park and Preserve is now available for public review and comment, announced Park Superintendent Paul Anderson.
The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing to construct and maintain the Savage Alpine Trail, Savage Camp Interpretive Trail, and other short trails, improving the connections between the Savage River Campground, Savage Cabin and the new Savage Rest Area, which are located along the Mile 12 -15 section of the Denali Park Road.
The Savage Alpine Trail was identified in the 1997 Entrance Area and Road Corridor Development Concept Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (DCP/EIS) as a new trail that would provide increased recreational opportunities for park visitors. The proposed new trail would extend the existing trail, which starts at Savage Rock, to follow the route of the Upper Savage Trail, which was approved in a 2006 EA. The proposed trail would continue east along a high contour to the south-facing drainage east of the Savage River Campground known as 12.4 Mile Creek, and connect to the Savage River Campground and new rest area. The 18 to30 inch-wide trail would be up to four miles in length. Due to the challenging terrain, only 0.7 miles of the southern end of the Savage Alpine Trail would be constructed to Americans with Disabilities Act standards for wheelchair accessibility.
The Savage Camp Interpretive Trail would begin from a point on the short paved trail being constructed as part of the new Savage Rest Area. It would connect to the abandoned internal road system of the former concessioner-operated Savage Camp, which operated through 1938. Other short trails would connect the historic Savage Cabin, Savage River Campground, the campground bus stop and the new rest area. The trails would range from 36 to 72 inches in width and total 1.5 miles in length. All of these trails would be constructed to be wheelchair accessible, built to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Both projects would begin during the summer of 2010.
The purpose of the new trails would be to provide additional recreational and interpretive opportunities within the portion of the Denali Park Road that is accessible to all vehicles, and provide connections between heavily used activity areas in the Savage River Campground vicinity. The new trails are needed to mitigate resource damage from past and present hiker use in the area, and to remove pedestrian traffic from the Park Road shoulder, thus improving visitor safety.
The NPS has published an EA for this project titled “Environmental Assessment for Construction of New Trails in the Savage River Area of Denali National Park.” It is available at the NPS planning web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. The EA analyzes the impacts of the no action alternative and two alternatives with differing routes for the Alpine Trail. It was completed in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 1508.9).
Comments on the EA may be submitted through October 4, 2009, preferably via the web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. Comments may also be mailed to Steve Carwile, Denali Compliance Project Manager at NPS Alaska Regional Office, 240 West 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501; fax (907) 644-3803; e-mail us.
For questions or paper copies of the EA, please contact Steve Carwile at (907) 644-3612 or the above email link, or Chuck Tomkiewicz, Denali Trails Foreman at (907) 683-9557; e-mail us.