September 13, 2011
Contact: Martha Armington
, (907) 683-9529
Contact: Paula Homan
, (907) 683-6223
An Environmental Assessment (EA) for the allocation of climbing permits between commercial guided climbing operators and independent, non-guided climbers on Mount McKinley is now available for public review and comment, announced Superintendent Paul R. Anderson.
The 2006 Backcountry Management Plan allocated 25% of the permits for commercially guided groups. The National Park Service (NPS) is considering an adjustment to the number of permits allocated to guided climbing operators. Concessioner guided climbs are a longstanding tradition in the park, and there is an increasing demand for guided climbs. The NPS must determine if this demand can be accommodated, while assuring that independent climbers are not displaced, and that wilderness resource values, visitor experience, and other park resources are protected.
The Backcountry Management Plan also established a seasonal (April 1 to August 1) limit of 1500 permitted climbers for Mount McKinley. The limit of 1500 permits is not being reviewed in this planning effort.
The NPS has developed a range of alternatives to be considered:
Alternative 1 is a no action alternative which would enforce the annual limit of 25% (375) of 1500 climbers for commercially guided climbing set by the Backcountry Management Plan.
Alternative 2 guarantees commercially guided climbing of 25% (375) of 1500 climbers, and also allows commercially guided climbing to utilize any remaining unused permits up to 50% (750) of 1500 climbers, providing no independent climbers are displaced.
Alternative 3 guarantees commercially guided climbing of 25% (375) of 1500 climbers, and also allows commercially guided climbing to utilize any remaining unused permits providing no independent climbers are displaced.
The NPS has published an EA for this issue entitled "Climbing Allocation for Mount McKinley." It is available at the NPS planning website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov.
The EA analyzes the impacts of the proposed alternatives and the no action alternative. 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 15, 2011, preferably via the website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. Comments may also be faxed to (907) 683-9612, or mailed to the address below:
Denali National Park and Preserve
ATTN: Climbing Allocation EA
P.O. Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755
For questions about the EA, or if you need a hard copy, please contact Paula Homan, Project Planning Lead, at (907) 683-6223 or Martha Armington, Project Lead, at (907) 683-9529.