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Contact: David Elkowitz, 432-477-1108
Big Bend National Park proposes to replace Boot Cabin, a backcountry cabin situated along Boot Canyon Trail near the center of the Park's heavily-visited Chisos Mountains. The Park proposes to build a new cabin in its existing location at the Boot Canyon site or replace the cabin and associated corral and storage facilities in a new nearby location at the Colima site.
Park managers maintain Boot Cabin to support Park management activities in the Chisos Mountains. The Park's resource managers, trail crew, fire crew, search and rescue crews, backcountry patrols, researchers, volunteers, and other Park staff and cooperators use Boot Cabin for shelter, equipment storage, and cooking facilities while they perform backcountry work, study Park resources, or assist Park visitors. Boot Cabin is also a staging area for 1-day radio/repeater tower repair on Emory Peak. Park staff, Border Patrol agents, Brewster County officials, and others use the radio/repeater tower for emergency communications.
Park managers have identified several problems with the existing cabin. More specifically, the cabin’s floors are not level, its ceiling is too low, the kitchen sink does not function, there is no sanitary wastewater disposal system, and numerous openings allow insects and other nuisance animals to enter the cabin. Additionally, the cabin is not bear-proof. Furthermore, as the cabin is situated along Boot Canyon Trail, its poor condition detracts from the visitor experience. Because of these problems, the cabin does not meet the Park’s needs, nor does it provide "a safe, efficient, comfortable, and aesthetic work environment for park staff" that the Park’s General Management Plan prescribes.
In order to make informed decisions associated with the project, an environmental review examining potential effects associated with the project will be conducted. For this project, an environmental assessment (EA) will be prepared. This planning effort includes compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires opportunity for public participation and an analysis of environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives.
The 30-day Public Comment period begins February 24 and ends March 25, 2011. Comments will be considered in development of the EA. The EA will be developed in coming months.
To learn more about the proposal, the planning process, and to provide comments and identify issues for consideration, visit the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/bibe during the comment period.
Written comments may be sent to: Superintendent, P.O. Box 129, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 79834.
The EA will be prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR 1500 et seq), and NPS Director’s Order 12: Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision-making.Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made public at any time. While you can ask in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.