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Rim of the Valley Corridor
Special Resource Study

1 Public Start-up of Study Process (Scoping)

Sometimes this phase of the study process is called “scoping,” because with your input, we are determining the “scope” or overall approach to the study.

This stage of the study process will extend through October 29, 2010. During this time you can send us your comments (via mail, e-mail, or our Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) web site), or attend any of the public meetings that we will be holding. We will publish a summary of your comments in a newsletter and online so that you can see the full range of comments we have received.

2 Resource Analysis: Significance and Suitability

During this stage of the study process, we evaluate the natural and cultural resources of the study area and determine whether there are resources that are nationally significant and suitable for inclusion in the national park system. We will research and evaluate these resources based on existing data, and will work with scientists, historians, local researchers, community members, and others who know the area’s resources.

Significance

The NPS considers a resource to be nationally significant if it is an outstanding example of a particular type of resource, it possesses exceptional value or quality illustrating or interpreting the natural or cultural themes of the nation’s heritage, it offers superlative opportunities for public enjoyment or for scientific study, and it retains a high degree of integrity as a true, accurate and relatively unspoiled example of a resource. This means that a nationally significant area contains the best example of a resource type, that is related to larger national themes, and could be available for recreation, education or scientific study.

Suitability

The NPS considers a resource to be suitable for inclusion in the national park system if it

1) is not already adequately represented in the national park system, or

2) is not comparably represented and protected for public enjoyment by another land managing entity.

This means that a suitable area does not duplicate other areas that are already protected and available for public enjoyment, research, or education.

3 Feasibility Analysis

In this stage of the study process, we determine what management alternatives might be feasible. National Park Service management can only be included in the alternatives if the NPS considers it to be feasible. NPS management will be considered feasible only if the area has adequate size and configuration to allow for resource protection and visitor enjoyment, and can be administered at a reasonable cost. Other considerations will include land ownership, access, threats to the resource, staffing and development requirements, and public support.

4 Develop Alternatives

In a special resource study, “alternatives” are possible ways of managing resources within the study area. During this stage of the study process, we will work key stakeholders to develop a range of options to protect resources and provide for public enjoyment. Different alternatives might have different goals, or they might be different ways to achieve the same goals. Alternatives may focus on a part of the study area, or may relate to the entire study area. Examples of different alternatives might include recommendations for:

  • New management initiatives, funding sources, or boundary expansions for existing land and resource management organizations
  • Establishment of new “designations” or protected areas, such as state or local parks, national historic landmarks, wild and scenic rivers, recreational trails, etc.
  • Cooperative management among several organizations.
  • New units of the national park system may be considered only if the NPS criteria for significance, suitability and feasibility are met. A new national park unit can only be established by a law passed by Congress, or by Presidential proclamation (for existing federal lands).

Alternatives will be presented in a newsletter so that you can tell us what you think about them and help us shape them.

5 Analyze Environmental Impacts

During this stage, the NPS will analyze the potential for environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the alternatives, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

6 Draft Report

The findings of the special resources study (analysis of resource significance, suitability, feasibility, proposed alternatives, and environmental impact analysis) will be published in a draft study report for public review and comment. The report will comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. There will be public meetings and a public comment period.

7 Final Report / Transmittal to Congress

During this stage of the study process, we will revise the report, as needed. Added to the final report will be a determination from the Director of the National Park Service of the alternative(s) that in the Director’s professional judgment would be most effective and efficient in protecting significant resources and providing for public enjoyment. The final step in the special resource study process is transmittal of the final report from the Secretary of the Interior to Congress, along with a recommendation regarding the Secretary’s preferred management option for the area.

Implementation of any of the recommendations in the report is a separate process, whether by private, local, state or federal actions, or some combination.

updated 10/18/10