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Finding of No Significant Impact Signed for the Train Operations Environmental Assessment at Grand Canyon National Park
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was signed on August 28, 2009, by Michael D. Snyder, Regional Director for the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service, for Train Operations at Grand Canyon National Park.
The purpose of the project was to evaluate appropriate use of a commercially operated train and to allow park visitors the opportunity to experience Grand Canyon’s South Rim using a historic train service and rail line.
In June 2009, the National Park Service (NPS) prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Train Operations. This EA, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, analyzed the impacts that will likely result from implementation of the preferred alternative. In addition to a no action alternative, one other alternative for addressing the purpose and need for action was evaluated in the EA. The EA was available for a 30-day public comment period. Public comments that were received were used in preparation of the FONSI.
Actions under the preferred alternative include allowing up to three trains per day from Williams, up to 30 special trains and events per year, and work trains as needed to maintain rails and crossings. This alternative also includes the installation of ground power to limit idling at the South Rim Depot, potential future restoration of tracks 5 and 6 to aid in safe loading and unloading of passengers, and increased interpretive opportunities on the train or at the South Rim Depot.
The Regional Director concluded that implementation of the preferred alternative does not constitute a major federal action that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment and is not an action that normally requires preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS).
Those interested in viewing the FONSI may do so on the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca. For questions and additional information about this project please contact Rachel Stanton, Project Planning Lead at (928) 774-9612.
In order to download this news release in .pdf format, CLICK HERE.
Did You Know?
The more recent Kaibab limestone caprock, on the rims of the Grand Canyon, formed 270 million years ago. In contrast, the oldest rocks within the Inner Gorge at the bottom of Grand Canyon date to 1.84 billion years ago. Geologists currently estimate the age of Earth at 4.5 billion years.