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National Park Service to hold open house public meetings on revision of Grand Canyon National Park's Backcountry Management Plan

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Date: May 5, 2011
Contact: Maureen Oltrogge, 928-638-7779

Grand Canyon, Ariz. – The National Park Service (NPS) will hold three open house style public meetings, one on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, one in Kanab, Utah, and one in Flagstaff, Arizona to discuss the revision of Grand Canyon National Park's 1988 Backcountry Management Plan. A Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and revised Backcountry Management Plan was published in the Federal Register on April 27, 2011 beginning a process that will identify, analyze and disclose the potential impacts of actions that could be taken to manage Grand Canyon's extensive backcountry resources.

The public is encouraged to attend any of the public meetings to learn more about the process, ask questions, and provide input into the development of the EIS and revised plan. Meeting dates and locations are as follows:

Grand Canyon, AZ: Wednesday, May 25, 2011, from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm (MST) – Shrine of the Ages, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Kanab, UT: Thursday, May 26, 2011, from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm (MDT) – Kanab Middle School, 690 E. Cowboy Drive, Kanab, Utah

Flagstaff, AZ: Wednesday, June 1, 2011, from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm (MST) – High Country Conference Center, 201 W. Butler Avenue, Flagstaff, Arizona

The NPS is in the initial stages of the development of the EIS and revised plan. In beginning the process the NPS is asking a very fundamental question: What should Grand Canyon National Park's backcountry and wilderness be like in the future? In defining the scope of the plan, park planners want to capture a sense of what people consider to be an ideal backcountry experience and what they would like Grand Canyon's backcountry and wilderness resources to look like 20 years from now.

Among the important issues that will be examined in the EIS are visitor access and use of the park's backcountry, administrative use and park infrastructure, scientific research activities, commercial services, access through tribal lands, management of natural and cultural resources, and protection of wilderness character. Once completed, the revised plan will guide management decisions regarding the park’s backcountry and wilderness resources into the future.

Comments will be accepted for 60 days, through June 27, 2011. Written comments may be submitted via the internet at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca (the preferred method); by mail to Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park, Attn: Backcountry Management Plan, P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023; by hand delivery to Grand Canyon National Park Headquarters, 1 Village Loop, Grand Canyon, AZ or at one of the open house meetings.

The NPS will analyze, consider and incorporate ideas and suggestions, received during this initial public process, into a range of draft alternatives to be analyzed in the Draft EIS. It is anticipated that the Draft EIS will be available for review and comment in 2012.

Additional information including the park's 1988 Backcountry Management Plan, a newsletter and other associated documents can be found at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca. Questions can be addressed by contacting Rachel Bennett, Environmental Protection Specialist, at 928-638-7326 or email.

-NPS-

Did You Know?

COLORADO RIVER AT THE BOTTOM OF GRAND CANYON

From Yavapai Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the drop to the Colorado River below is 4,600 feet (1,400 m). The elevation at river level is 2,450 feet (750 m) above sea level. Without the Colorado River, a perennial river in a desert environment, the Grand Canyon would not exist.