Yosemite National Park Announces Public Review and Comment Period for Reconstructing Critically Eroded Sections of the El Portal Road Environmental Assessment
Yosemite National Park is announcing the public comment period for the Reconstructing Critically Eroded Sections of the El Portal Road Environmental Assessment (EA). This EA includes alternatives pertaining only to the failing section of the road east of the Big Oak Flat Road intersection and analyzes the environmental effects of a range of project alternatives.
The El Portal Road is a park road that begins at the western Yosemite National Park boundary. It begins at the eastern end of California State Highway 140 and continues 7.5 miles east to the Pohono Bridge. The initial approach to this repair contemplated a one mile road segment, often referred to as "Segment D." This planned approach would have studied optimum design for the intersection at Big Oak Flat Road, and road portions east of the severely damaged area.
However, in response to the recent ruling by the Eastern District Court, which directs the National Park Service to prepare a new comprehensive management plan for the Merced River, only those portions of the road that are at imminent risk of failure will be addressed at this time (approximately 1400 feet of roadway). This area has undergone five emergency repairs since 1997, but a complete reconstruction is needed so that the road can withstand future high water events. Important considerations throughout the planning process will be to maintain the road's essential historic character as a winding, narrow, mountain road, and to consider the protection and enhancement of the Wild and Scenic River.
The public review and comment period for the EA will open on June 4, 2007 and will run until July 3, 2007. Written comments must be postmarked no later than July 3, 2007.
Two public meetings will take place in June, 2007. The public meeting schedule will be:
Comments can be submitted at public meetings, by mail, fax, email, and through the Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) commenting system. A link to project information will be posted on the park's website at www.nps.gov/yose/planning. To request a hard copy or CD ROM version of the EA and to submit written comments:
In person at public meetings
Fax: (209) 379-1294
Mail: Yosemite National Park Superintendent
Did You Know?
Descending from Yosemite Valley, the Merced River becomes a continuous cascade in a narrow gorge littered by massive boulders. Dropping 2,000 feet in 14 miles, canyon walls rise steeply from the river and have many seasonal waterfalls cascading down to the river.