Public Comments Sought Concerning the Going-to-the-Sun Road Staging and Stockpile Site for Construction and Maintenance
Contact: Melissa Wilson, 406 888-7895
Contact: Mary Riddle, 406 888-7898
5WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Officials at Glacier National Park announce that the environmental assessment (EA) and statement of findings for the Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) Construction and Maintenance Staging and Stockpiling Site is available for public review and comment. Comments are due by December 4, 2007.
Logan Pit, an area which has been in almost continuous use since construction was begun on the Sun Road in the 1920s, was identified as the primary west side construction staging and stockpiling site in the May 2003 Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Sun Road rehabilitation project. It also serves as the park’s road maintenance staging and storage site and as an administrative and emergency helicopter landing site.
In November 2006, Glacier National Park received more than 9.1 inches of rain in 36 hours from a major storm. This rain caused multiple creeks within the park to swell above their 100-year-flood-event stage causing notable damage throughout Glacier National Park, including Logan Pit. McDonald Creek backed up into the flood channel and flowed across the access road to Logan Pit until June 2007. Access to the Logan Pit site was delayed until the water receded.
Logan Pit is within the floodplain of McDonald Creek and the access road crosses a back bar flood scour channel. Concern for future flooding caused the park to assess the option of continuing to use Logan Pit or finding an alternative staging and stockpiling site.
The EA evaluates two alternatives, a no action alternative and an action alternative. The no action alternative would utilize Logan Pit in its current condition as the primary staging and stockpiling site and overflow would temporarily continue to be staged and stockpiled at the West Glacier Staging Area (an area previously known as the ball field). The preferred alternative would also utilize Logan Pit as a staging and stockpiling site; however, modification would be made to the Logan Pit site. The size of the impacted area would be reduced by about a half acre and concrete forms would be used to stabilize the site. A culvert would be placed across the access road. After the Sun Road rehabilitation project is completed, Logan Pit would continue to be used for Sun Road maintenance and helicopter staging. Additionally, under the preferred alternative, the West Glacier Staging Area would be permanently used to support the rehabilitation of the Sun Road and its continued maintenance. National Park Service staff and Western Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration also considered a few alternative locations; however, none of these were determined to be suitable. They are identified in the EA.
The resources that would be affected by the alternatives are: floodplain, soils, vegetation, wildlife and aquatic species, a federally listed threatened species and species of concern, natural soundscapes, visitor use and experience, and water quality.
Comments can be provided directly through the park’s planning Web site: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/glac by selecting this project. Or sent by mail to Superintendent Glacier National Park, Attn: Logan Pit EA, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, Montana 59936. This EA will be on public review for 30 days and is also available online at the above Web site. Please provide comments by December 4, 2007.
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Did You Know?
Did you know that eight inches of snow fell during one night in Glacier's high country in August, 2005? The weather forced hundreds of backpackers out of the backcountry.