Park Seeks Comments on New Development Plan for Headquarters Area
Contact: Melissa Wilson, 406 888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Officials at Glacier National Park seek comments to help in the preparation of a new campus plan for the Headquarters area at West Glacier. The plan would provide clear direction for future proposals and avoid piecemeal changes within the headquarters area that could result in adverse effects to the Headquarters Historic District.
Park Superintendent Mick Holm noted, “The Headquarters area was first developed in 1917 and since that time many new issues including larger vehicles, more staff, and different needs have arisen. The vehicle washing facility is needed to maintain new transit buses that will be used to reduce traffic on the Going-to-the-Sun Road during rehabilitation. Beyond this facility, we have no immediate plans for developing these areas. However, the plan will ensure any future activity will recognize the historic character of the area.”
The purpose of this planning effort is to address four primary issues: 1) to identify locations within the Headquarters area that are appropriate for future development given its listing on the National Register of Historic Places, 2) to select a location and design for a large vehicle washing facility, 3) to identify designated parking areas to accommodate summer and winter parking needs while protecting resources, and 4) to identify those existing structures that could be converted to office space, if needed. A planning team was established in January 2006 to develop recommendations for these issues and an environmental assessment (EA) will be prepared to analyze the potential impacts of those recommendations.
Three locations for potential future development were identified by the working group: 1) an undeveloped storage area east of the headquarters building, 2) an area at the south end of the headquarters building parking lot, and 3) the area on the northwest corner of Mather Drive and Grinnell Drive.
Parking, traffic circulation, and adequate office space have become issues in the Headquarters area. Several parking locations need to be delineated to reduce vehicle encroachment on vegetation and to maintain the historic character of the area. Some housing has been converted to administrative office space in recent years. While this has been good use of these structures, there are concerns about adverse effects on the historic district, which was partly designated because the houses represent building styles from 1917 to the 1960s.
A Master Plan was developed in 1942 and, while helpful, it does not address many of the issues facing the National Park Service today.
Scoping is an early and open process which occurs prior to the development of an EA. Scoping comments are used to identify issues and alternatives that should be addressed in the EA. Once the EA has been written, the public is given the opportunity to comment on the document.
Comments can be provided directly through the park’s planning website (http://parkplanning.nps.gov/parkHome.cfm?parkId=61) by selecting this project. Or write to: Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: Campus Plan EA, West Glacier, Montana 59936. Comments are due by August 25, 2006.
Did You Know?
Grizzly bears in the park have a wide variety of food sources, including glacier lily bulbs, insects, and berries. They may also make an early season meal of mountain goats that were swept down in avalanches over the winter.