Brooks River Visitor Access Improvements
The National Park Service (NPS) is considering replacing the existing floating bridge and trails to improve visitor access at the Brooks River area of Katmai National Park and Preserve. A new elevated bridge and boardwalk would provide for the continuation of floatplane access within the Brooks River area. Most visitors arrive via floatplanes that beach either on the shore of Naknek Lake or on adjacent Lake Brooks. To reach bear viewing platforms, the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes Road, Brooks Lodge or the campground, visitors must cross Brooks River on a floating bridge. During the peak bear use periods of late June through July and September, brown bear activity near the floating bridge intermittently delays river crossings, at times for prolonged periods.
The NPS is also considering the relocation of the existing barge landing and access road away from Brooks River. The relocation would reduce the number of bear-human interactions in that area, minimize NPS barge operation delays, and improve visitor experience. These proposals would facilitate dependable safe access across Brooks River and would advance the phased relocation of facilities and park operations from the north side of Brooks River at Naknek Lake to the south side of the river as called for in the 1996 Brooks River Area Development Concept Plan (DCP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
By considering a bridge and elevated boardwalk and alternative location for the barge landing and access road, this plan would amend the access decision made in the DCP, which called for development of a floatplane dock, breakwater, and a one-mile access road on the south side of the Brooks River.
The NPS will evaluate the proposed visitor access improvements through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance process. The NEPA process is designed to involve the public and gather and analyze the best available information before the NPS makes a decision. Due to the scope of the proposed project, the NPS is in the process of developing an EIS.
The NPS is requesting input from federal and state agencies, local governments, private organizations, recreational users, and the public to help identify the alternatives and issues associated with the proposed project.
Comments concerning the scope of the EIS should be received by November 30, 2009. The draft EIS is projected to be available to the public in the fall of 2010.
Public scoping comments may be submitted to the NPS using one of the following methods:
Electronic through the PEPC system: http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/KATM.
Or by Fax: 907-246-2116
Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be publicly available at any time. While you can ask us to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
Did You Know?
The only bridge in Katmai spans the Brooks River. All other rivers in the park must be crossed on foot or by boat. Be careful as heavy rains or melting snow can quickly cause the rivers to become uncrossable.