Environmental Assessment for Managing Off-road Vehicle Use for Subsistence in the Cantwell Area Available for Public Comment
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
The National Park Service (NPS) is considering alternatives for managing subsistence-related off-road vehicle use in the Cantwell area of Denali National Park and Preserve.
In July 2005, the NPS published the final “Cantwell Subsistence Traditionally Employed Off-Road Vehicle Determination” which opened the entire 32,159 acre Cantwell traditional ORV use area (TUA) to the use of off-road vehicles (ORVs), for subsistence purposes by NPS qualified subsistence users.
“The NPS is proposing this current action to assure subsistence ORV use in this area is proactively managed,” said Superintendent Paul Anderson. “This is necessary in order to minimize adverse impacts to the resources and values for which the park was established while also providing reasonable access for subsistence purposes.”
Four alternatives for managing subsistence off-road vehicle (ORV) use in the Cantwell TUA were considered in the environmental assessment. Management alternatives were developed with input from the State of Alaska, the Denali Subsistence Resources Commission and other members of the public.
The four alternatives evaluated were:
Alternative 1 (No Action). Under this alternative, the TUA would remain open to ORV use by qualified subsistence users for all subsistence purposes. This No Action Alternative is a required alternative under the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act.
Alternative 2. Under this alternative, the TUA would remain open to off-trail ORV use by qualified subsistence users only by permit for retrieval of subsistence harvested moose or caribou. ORV use for all subsistence purposes would be authorized on the new Bull River Access Trail and on several NPS-managed existing trails and routes (the Windy Creek Access Trail, Windy Creek Bowl Trail, Cantwell Airstrip Trail, Pyramid Peak Trail, the Upper Cantwell Creek Floodplain Trail/Route, and the Bull River Floodplain Trail/Route).
Alternative 3. Under this alternative, ORV use for all subsistence purposes would be authorized on the new Bull River Access Trail and on several NPS-managed existing trails and routes (the Windy Creek Access Trail, Windy Creek Bowl Trail, Cantwell Airstrip Trail, Pyramid Peak Trail, the Upper Cantwell Creek Floodplain Trail/Route, and the Bull River Floodplain Trail/Route). A winter subsistence moose hunt would be possible.
Alternative 4. This alternative would be the same as Alternative 3, except the NPS would not construct the new Bull River Access Trail or allow ORV use on either the Bull River Floodplain or the Upper Cantwell Creek Floodplain. The NPS would authorize ORV use for subsistence purposes on NPS-managed trails from one week before the beginning of the fall moose and caribou hunting seasons through to the end of these hunting seasons.
Printed copies of the EA will be distributed to local libraries, visitor centers, and those who request printed copies. The EA is posted on the new NPS public comment website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov. It will also be posted on the Denali National Park and Preserve web site at: http://www.nps.gov/dena/parkmgmt/planning.htm .
The EA will be available for public review from June 4 through July 31, 2007. Two public meetings will be held:
July 9, 2007 Cantwell Community Hall 5-8 pm
Both meetings will begin with an open house format, followed by a presentation at 6 pm that includes an overview of the alternatives. This will be followed by a question and answer session. Both written and oral public comments will be accepted.
If you are unable to attend either of the meetings and would like to comment in writing on the project, please submit your comments to Superintendent, Denali National Park and Preserve, P.O. Box 9, Denali Park, AK 99755. Comments may be faxed to (907) 683-9612, or may be e-mailed by going to the new NPS public comment website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov.
The NPS will make a decision about managing off road vehicle use soon after the close of the public comment period. If you have any questions about the environmental assessment, please call the Superintendent’s office at (907) 683-9581.
Did You Know?
Recent climate warming has affected Denali in ways that are readily apparent, such as reduced spring snowfall, earlier snowmelt, earlier green-up and thawing of permanent snowfields. Subarctic ecosystems, like Denali, are extremely sensitive to climate variability and change.